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 sometimes easy to misjudge others and more challenging 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?
Ask yourself: Can we see the child of God in everyone I meet? Do I focus on the strengths or the weaknesses in others? Can I celebrate the immense potential in myself and others? Am I slow to criticize and quick 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 look beyond outward appearances, we can see the infinite potential and beauty in each person we meet. 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