Christly compassion – the highest kind of caring

When our care for others stems from a realization that everyone is able to feel and experience God’s healing, restoring love, we are better equipped to help and find solutions.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
Loading the player...

Urgent needs in so many parts of the world today continue to touch hearts, bringing calls for ever-greater sensitivity and caring to help meet those needs quickly and thoroughly. They’ve led me to think more deeply about the kind of caring that goes beyond emotion and how I can express it better.

Some questions that come to me are, How am I actually seeing these situations? Am I defining people simply as victims in pain, and sympathizing with them? During times of struggle, I’ve appreciated the intent of those who sympathized. But I’ve found myself even more grateful for those who encouraged me to rise above the challenge because they saw in me something of the spiritual strength we all have, even at a time I struggled to feel it myself.

So when I’m helping others, I strive to do it from that kind of deeper basis – supporting them as victors rather than as victims by seeing them walking in the healing light of God, as the spiritual image and likeness of God.

Each of us can practice this kind of caring that’s more powerful than sympathizing with a problem. We can, instead, wholeheartedly embrace this idea of one another as being God’s creation, reflecting the joy, peace, and strength of the Divine. Then we discover how to assure each other of God’s abundant love and unfailing care – in every situation. This is spiritually grounded compassion, which lifts thought toward healing resolutions.

We see this compassion illustrated in the Bible in a parable told by Jesus (see Luke 10:30-35). A Samaritan traveler’s response to a man who had been beaten, robbed, and left to die went beyond feeling sorry for him. He “had compassion” on him. This inspired what the Samaritan did next: He “went to him, and bound up his wounds” and made sure he was taken care of.

Clearly, the wounds suffered in such an attack weren’t just physical; they were mental, as well. They cried out for the active healing touch of divine Love, or God, right there on the roadside. The Samaritan expressed a Christlike compassion, which uplifts, restores, and strengthens in a way that simply acknowledging someone’s pain cannot do. It inspires and energizes both the caregiver and the one needing help.

Prayer to understand Love’s healing touch enables us to know the comfort and assurance of God’s infinite grace, and to feel and follow God’s guidance. I’ve found this is a foundation for helping myself and others find tangible solutions to problems, bringing to light the practicality of God’s care.

Several years ago, this approach helped me support a friend in a devastating situation: Soon after her husband passed on, she discovered that owing to wrongdoing by some employees, her family-owned company was over $1 million in debt. She was left with not only grief about losing her husband, but a mountain of indebtedness and the sorrow of having been lied to by people she had trusted.

In praying with my friend each day, I recalled how Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, describes the comforting, compassionate nature of God, divine Love. In her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she illuminates a verse from Psalm 23 in the Bible this way: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for [Love] is with me; [Love’s] rod and [Love’s] staff they comfort me” (p. 578).

This became foundational in our prayers together as my friend navigated the steps needed to avoid losing everything. Divine Love’s comfort and care are never out of reach, even during the most trying times, because as God’s spiritual image, we can never truly be separated from our divine source. This idea gave my friend strength and empowered me to encourage and help her, rather than simply pitying.

Over the course of two and a half years, relying on God’s guidance daily, my friend repaid the entire debt, returned the business to profitability, and avoided personal bankruptcy. She said to me recently, “I knew that staying certain of God’s hand in solving all of this would bring resolution.”

To me, this experience illustrates how Christly compassion works on a much deeper level than mere human pity: It empowers us to understand everyone’s unique spiritual being, our unbroken spiritual identity. It goes beyond just walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. It means realizing that we all are cared for by our divine Parent, able to feel and experience God’s healing, restoring love, and letting that inspire the way we help and care for others.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Christly compassion – the highest kind of caring
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/A-Christian-Science-Perspective/2019/0724/Christly-compassion-the-highest-kind-of-caring
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe