'Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.' - Colossians 3:12
This half term, our Christian value is Compassion. Christians believe that their attitudes and actions must reflect the kindness, mercy and compassion of Jesus and the love of God for everyone.
‘Compassion’ and ‘sympathy’ have much in common and both are stronger in meaning than simply ‘feeling sorry for’ someone. The words have their roots in the idea of ‘suffering with’ someone, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and experiencing what they experience. This leads to a desire to act, to do something.
It is not about ‘doing good’ from a position of strength or ‘remembering those less fortunate than ourselves’. Compassion requires an act of imagination and humility to share in the lives of others. Notice the qualities that Paul links together. He says, ‘clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’ (Colossians 3:12)
Jesus showed compassion towards the ‘harassed and helpless’ crowds (Matthew 9.36) and his works of healing were always prompted by compassion for people’s suffering. He wept at the death of Lazarus and was moved to act.
Christians have always had to wrestle with the problem of how a loving God could allow there to be evil and suffering in the world. There is no simple answer to this, but we make the first step towards understanding when we grasp the idea that God the Father is not passively observing the suffering of the world from the outside. God fully identified with human suffering in the life and death of Jesus and continues to work to transform the sufferings of the world through the work of the Holy Spirit.
How can we demonstrate our value of compassion?
Psalm 145: 8-9 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger in rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
- Do acts of kindness for anyone- your friends, family, strangers
- Random acts of kindness challenge!
- Charity donation or work
- Be kind to everyone even if they are not your friend or you don’t get along very well 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
- Treat others as we would wish to be treated
- Follow the example of Jesus 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
- Talk to people about how they are feeling if they want to
- Pray for those who need it.
- Put yourself in others’ shoes and think about how they might be feeling
Some questions we will consider during our Worship are:
How do we show kindness and respect to one another?
What links with charities do we have?
How are new members of our school community nurtured and supported in their first term?
How do we emphasise with members of our community who have suffered traumatic experiences?
Bible stories relevant to this value include:
Baby in the Bulrushes (Exodus 1,2)
David Spares Saul (1 Samuel 23,24)
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10)
The Lost Sheep (Luke 15)
The Loving Husband (Hosea)
You may want to explore some of these other stories with your children which illustrate compassion:
Not Now Bernard by David McKee
Refugee Boy by B Zephaniah
The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
The Love-Me Bird by Joyce Dunbar