Compassion: suffering for a cause
While compassion alludes to kindness and sympathy there is something more profoundly powerful in its meaning.
The origin of the word helps us understand the importance of compassion when we split it into two words: com and passion.
Today we commonly think of passion as simply ‘a strong and barely controllable emotion’; or an ‘intense desire or enthusiasm for something’.
But the origin of ‘passion’ actually comes from the Latin word ‘pati’ which means ‘suffering’.
The prefix ‘com’ also originates from Latin and means ‘with’, ‘together’, ‘in association’ and ‘jointly’.
When those two words are combined, compassion takes on a deeper meaning when we allow another’s suffering to become our own suffering and when we choose to share the suffering as a community. By uniting with people in their suffering we help them realise they don’t have to carry their burdens alone.
The ultimate act of compassion
When Jesus Christ walked the earth He revealed the extent of the word compassion. Throughout His life on earth, Jesus experienced regular suffering—whether He was being tempted or faced criticism for his teachings. But it was Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that demonstrated His ultimate act of compassion. Jesus was mocked, beaten and nailed to a cross where He suffered a painful death. And He did this out of compassion for us. But His suffering wasn’t for nothing. Three days later He rose from the dead and ultimately reconnected us back to Him.
Through His own experiences of suffering on earth, Jesus personally knows what each one of us is going through. He can identify with the pain, loss, hurt, frustration, anger and sorry that we face at various times throughout our lives.
Here at Wesley Mission we come across vulnerable people who experience suffering on a regular basis. We identify with Jesus’ example of compassion by choosing to share in their suffering as we endeavour to help people transform their lives.
Celebrate Easter with us
This Easter we remember and thank God for His deep love for us by sending His son Jesus to earth in the ultimate act of compassion. There will never be a greater example of compassion and love than what Jesus did for us on the cross.
We invite you to celebrate Jesus’ compassion for us by joining us at our many Easter events starting on Palm Sunday right through to Easter Sunday.