Redefine it as a verb – compassion

By Dave Henning / April 19, 2022

“Compassion is defined as . . . a noun, but Christians need to redefine it as a verb.  That means there should always be an and.  As in, I feel compassion and I then act.  Real compassion doesn’t just break your heart.  It moves your muscles.”- Kyle Idleman (emphasis Kyle’s)

Kyle Idleman concludes Chapter 4 of One At a Time with the third reason we live as bystanders rather than responders.  Certainly, Pastor Idleman observes, we would never say this third reason out loud.  And probably not even to ourselves.  However, Kyle believes, if we’d respond with brutal honesty, we’d admit . . .

3.  I just don’t care that much.  Most of us think of ourselves as compassionate because we’re positive we’re not the opposite of that.  Because we tend to view hatred as the opposite of compassion.  And we know we don’t feel hatred.

But, according to a thesaurus, the opposite of compassion is indifference or apathy.  So, instead of seeing, we choose to look the other way.  Hence, as Kyle points out:

“The opposite of compassion is putting your hands in your pockets, shrugging your shoulders, walking away, and saying to yourself, It’s not my problem.”

Many years ago early church leaders came up with a list known as The Seven Deadly Sins.  Yet, one sin, Kyle notes, might seem out of place – sloth.  Doesn’t sound too deadly.  But in its original Latin, the word is acedia, more accurately translated as ‘without care’ or ‘I don’t care.’  Therefore, it’s indeed dangerous and deadly to reach a point where you’re so jaded and calloused you become indifferent to hurting people around you.

Finally, Kyle talks about a new category of clothing called athleisure.  People love to wear workout clothes without showing any intention of actually working out.  As a result, people love these comfortable clothes, but truly working out makes them uncomfortable.

Merely feeling compassion is like that.  You feel you’ve done something when you haven’t.  As Kyle reminds us, “Real compassion . . . moves your muscles.”

Today’s question: What does it mean to you to redefine it as a verb – compassion?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Clarifying the law – a new standard”

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Dave Henning

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