What is compassion? If you look to Wikipedia, you’ll see the following description: Compassion is an empathy and sympathy for the suffering of others, regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism.
Dictionary.com defines encouragement as follows:
1) To inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence;
2) To stimulate by assistance, approval; and
3) To promote, advance, or foster.
The word “encourage” comes from the Greek word paracletos”, which basically means “to call to one’s side.” Biblically, the gift of encouragement is found in Paul’s list of gifts in Romans 12:7-8. Paul often urged and exhorted his readers to act on something he wrote. Survivors don’t need your sympathy, but we do need your empathy, patience and understanding. You can use the gift of encouragement with a survivor both publicly and privately, showing empathetic concern by listening, acts of caring and kindness, and by providing perspective. I believe that showing encouragement to a survivor most often requires restraint and patience. You don’t need to have the answer or know how to fix it; we often don’t either. But we do need to know that what we feel is okay and that our strong feelings won’t scare you away. Your persistent encouragement and patience can help a person move from pessimism to optimism.
A simple act of compassion and encouragement can transform lives and change the world! May these verses provide comfort to you:
In what ways have you been gifted with or demonstrated encouragement and compassion?