Showing Compassion for Others during their Trials
Barbara Thompson says this, “Compassion means to feel love and mercy toward another person. It means to have sympathy and desire to relieve the suffering of others. It means to show kindness and tenderness toward another. The Savior has asked us to do the things which He has done, to bear one another’s burdens, to comfort those who need comfort, to mourn with those who mourn, to feed the hungry, visit the sick, to succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and to ‘teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom’. We are often told to look to Jesus to be our perfect example. Jesus provided us many examples of compassionate concern. The crippled man at the pool of Bethesda; the woman taken in adultery; the woman at Jacob's well; Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha—each needed help.” Jesus offered that help.”
In the scriptures there are many stories in which Jesus shows us how to be compassionate, especially to those in the midst of their own trials. I want to talk about the stories that Sister Thompson mentions and I also want to add a few stories I found in the scriptures. Such as: Jesus teaching the multitudes, the woman with the issue of blood, blessing the Nephites, and Jesus in Gethsemane.
The crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda.
There was a pool which was said to have healing powers and the first person to get into the water at a certain time would be healed. Jesus found a man and in talking and listening to him realized he had no one to carry him to the water. So Jesus healed him, on the Sabbath day. From this we can learn that compassion is listening, and doing what we can to help at anytime, any day, and in any way that we can. (John 5)
The Woman taken in Adultery
A woman was brought to Jesus in the temple and the people were judging her and saying that according to the law she should be stoned. Jesus responded with “He that is without sin let him first cast a stone at her.” Soon the people left. Through this story the Lord teaches us that we cannot judge nor condemn someone and their trial. We may wonder why they don’t do things differently or why they don’t use the advice people give them. But we must remember that we don’t know the whole story and they are doing the best they can and at some time during our own trials we may not use the advice we are given either. (John 8)
The Woman at Jacobs Well
Jesus came to the well after a long travel and asked a Samaritan woman to get him some water. She was a little shocked that he would ask her since he was a Jew. He then taught her about the living water. One way to show compassion is to invite those going through trials to grow closer to our Savior. To find a firm foundation in him and realize that, we often find our faith deepened and our relationships with his son refined in adversity. During their trial they may feel alone but the Savior can and will succor and buoy them up to come through the trail. Sharing your testimony and helping them feel the spirit in the times of trials is a great way to show compassion. (John 4)
Lazarus, Martha and Mary
One day while out with his disciples Mary and Martha came to Jesus to let him know that Lazarus had died. He went with them and it says in the scriptures that Jesus wept, because he loved them. We all know that he went on to raise Lazarus but for this talk I want to focus on the part before that. Jesus shows compassion to Martha and Mary in that in their trials he cries with them. He was mourning with those that mourn. It is a way to let the person know that you feel for them and while I don’t think you actually have to cry to show compassion show some emotion, let them know that you love them and validate them and their feelings. (John 11)
Jesus teaches the Multitudes
When Jesus finds out the John the Baptist has been killed he goes to find a place where he can be alone to mourn but the multitude follow him, and when he saw them he was filled with compassion and he taught them and he blessed them. Later the disciples tell him that he needs to send the multitude away because it was getting late but instead he said feed them. Sometimes the need to show compassion doesn’t come at a convenient time for us. Sometimes it comes in the middle of our own trials, but we should be compassionate at all times. And when we are we will find that our trials may not seem so big. In this story Jesus also goes the extra mile; he did all that he could for these people and that is a great way to show compassion. (Matt 14)
The Woman with the Issue of Blood
As Jesus was making his way through the streets he felt that someone had touched him. After searching he found the woman who had been healed and he said, “Daughter be of comfort, thy faith hath made the whole, go in peace.” Sometimes we need to search out those in need of comfort and compassion. Some may not openly share their trials. We can do this by praying for opportunities, and by living righteously so that we can have the Holy Ghost with us so that we can follow promptings when they come and be an answer to prayers. (Luke 8)
Jesus blessing the Nephites
When Jesus appears to the Nephites he teaches them and when it gets late he tells the people to go to their homes and they ask him if he would not tarry with them a little longer. He had compassion and stayed and healed the sick and blessed the little children one by one. In this story Jesus shows us how to be compassionate in 2 ways, the first is that he stays and gives of his time to comfort. The second is that he blesses the children and heals the sick one by one. We may feel at times that we have too much going on or that there are too many people who need us to help them during their trials but as we learn from our Savior give of your time and do it one by one even if it is a few minutes. Sometimes the people going through the trials just need to feel that they are worth someone’s time. (3 Nephi 17)
Jesus in the Garden
When Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed and he bled from every pour and Alma 6: 11&12 “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Our Savior did this so that he could know how we feel and show compassion. The way we use this to help us be compassionate is that we all go through trials; this allows us to empathize with others who are experiencing trials that are similar. We know how it feels, even if it isn’t exactly the same. If we haven’t gone through those trials ourselves we can show compassion by reminding them that The Savior knows exactly how they feel and they can turn to him for comfort. Sometimes just knowing that they are not alone is something that will help them get through. (Alma 6)
From the stories I have just shared we have learned this from our savior about how to be compassionate. Compassion is listening, not judging, inviting them to grow closer to the savior, mourning with them, love them, go the extra mile. Be compassionate at all times, pray and search for those in need of compassion, give of your time, be concerned with the individual, be empathetic, and bear testimony of our Savior and his knowledge of our pains, afflictions, and trials.
Some of you may know that Kirk and I have been struggling with infertility now for over 3 years. We didn’t have any problems with the 1st or 2nd. So this has been a new trial for me. You think that after 3 years it would get easier, but it doesn’t. This trial has been extremely hard but I have had others show compassion to me in many of the ways we have talked about. I have had numerous people listen to me talk or read my blogs about it. I have had friends who haven’t judged me when they see me cry when another person announces their pregnancy, or when I can’t seem to find the motivation to do anything at all. He continue to listen to me even when they have heard it all before. I have had people who have shared their testimonies to me of the plan of salvation, the Love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They have shared with me their knowledge of the atonement and how I can rely on Jesus to comfort me. I have had letters and cards dropped off when people have been thinking of me, Friends look at me as an individual and while infertility seems to be around a lot they don’t lump us all together. They see me as an individual going through my own trial. My mother & my sister who have both struggled with infertility have been there to encourage me and show me compassion as someone who has suffered with this also. My other sister will see things that remind her of me and will buy them for me. I’ve had friends who have been an answer to my prayers, without knowing it, when they ask if my children can come over and play, this allows me some time for me, to feel sorrow alone and then have time to pull myself back together. Most people just offer me a smile when they see me. My husband even though this is a trial for him to has comforted me numerous times, giving me blessings and just loving me. Some of the things people have done for me take a lot of effort and time but the majority it has taken only a minute, with little effort. All of them however are things that have buoyed me up during my trial. The compassion that has been shown has helped me it has been an answer to my prayers. It allows me to get through another day as I find my way through this.
I want to add a little something to the last story about Jesus in the Garden. When Jesus enters the garden he prays to his father, “Father take this cup from me but if not thy will be done.” Even though the father doesn’t remove the trial he sends help, he sends an angel to help our Savior. Sometimes when we enter a trial we ask that it be taken from us, but it may be one we have to deal with for awhile. It is not a bad thing to ask for help and compassion, sometimes we need to be the one who needs to ask and pray. Our Father, will not leave us comfortless. He will send others to answer our prayers to have compassion on us.
Sometimes we are the ones praying for compassion and sometimes we are the ones giving compassion. I know that compassion truly is a Christ like attribute and it something we should all try to have a little more of. I know that part of why we are here on this earth is to “bear one another’s burdens, to comfort those who need comfort, and to mourn with those who mourn” I challenge you all to do just that. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.