When Did Compassion Go Out Of Style?

By on June 17, 2018

Abraham Lincoln is arguably one of the greatest presidents in our history. During the most difficult of times, he acted with strength, even as he might have felt weak. His famous words, “With malice towards none, with charity for all,” show us how compassion was a central part of his being.

When did we stop being compassionate to our fellow man? Some might point fingers at our current government administration. Some would go back further and accuse administrations from decades ago.

But compassion is not just something for our government, it is for all of us. If we feel our government does not act with compassion, then we need to show and even teach, the importance of compassion.

Let’s start simply. What is compassion? Per Miriam-Webster (my go to source): sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Or to put it in ever simpler terms: feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.

Compassion does not make us weak; it makes us strong. Compassion is not excusing someone’s bad behavior, but honestly and caringly teaching how bad behavior hurts not only the victim of that behavior but the person who is behaving badly as well. Compassion is not allowing a criminal to go unpunished, but to punish within appropriate measures, to provide help and to educate so that reformation is possible.

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Being compassionate is not a one-time act. As a society, as a WORLD, we need to be compassionate to ALL living things. To treat each other with care; just as we would like to be cared for. (Hmmm…Where have I heard that before? Let me go all King James on you here: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”)

We are NOT responsible for the reprehensible acts of others. (And it’s very important to remember that! No one speaks for us, but us.) But those who show no compassion CAN learn from our acts. (It may be the only way they WILL learn.) Maybe they won’t learn. Maybe they won’t change. But maybe they will and that hope alone is enough to act with compassion.

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Show compassion to your fellow man. Be compassionate to those in need. Teach compassion to future generations with your words and deeds.

Change the world; make the world a better place — show compassion. Let’s bring it back into style!

Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For five years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.

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