Monday, August 10, 2009

Radical Compassion

Christ practiced radical compassion. He ministered to the poor, the sinner, the suffering with a pure and perfect love. He cared for the sick, the despised, the sorrowing. He wept when his friends mourned, knowing that he would raise the dying brother of Mary and Martha within moments.

Today there is much that divides us. Culture, class, race, religion, country, politics, age, personality, outward appearance—there are thousands of ways we can misjudge others and turn away from those in need. It is so easy to misjudge others and so hard to look beyond labels and outward appearances.

Stephen Covey shows this picture and asks his audiences what they see. What do you see?

Do you see the young woman or the old woman? Can you see them both?

Perhaps we can ask ourselves: Can we see the child of God in everyone we meet? Do we look for the strengths or the weaknesses in others? Can we celebrate the immense potential in ourselves and others? Can we be slower to criticize and quicker to commend?

A wise teacher showed a group a rose bush that he had pulled from the ground. "What do you see?" he asked. One man replied, "I see dirt clinging to the roots of the plant." The teacher pulled the dirt-filled roots from the plant and handed it to the man. Another woman said, "I see large thorns that can hurt me." The teacher plucked the thorns from the plant and handed them to the woman. Then, a youth said, "I see a beautiful flower," and the teacher presented the youth with the exquisite rose.

As we look beyond the thorns and dirty roots, we can enjoy the roses. As we seek to beyond outward appearance, we can see the infinite potential of others. When we seek to love others as God loves us, we practice radical compassion and we become powerful forces for good in the world.

© Carol Brown

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