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Reflections on Compassion

"Be compassionate, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." -Philo of Alexandria

     It is curious that we stand in long check out lines or walk down a busy street without greeting or making eye contact with anyone. But when two long distance hikers meet on trail, even briefly, there is an open and dare I say, compassionate interaction. We may only exchange trail names, talk about the weather, the next water source, and where we camped the previous night, but there is a meaningful connection based on our shared experience of the trail. An experience not unlike a battle-with joy and suffering, success and failure, pleasure and pain.
     I think it's because of this shared experience that it is so natural for us to pause, greet one another, make eye contact, inquire about their hike, and share something about ours. Hikers are some of the most kind, thoughtful, and generous people I know; especially to other hikers. What baffles me is why this experience of "life as a battle" doesn't extend to other relationships. Do we not understand that everyone we meet is fighting a great battle? Maybe it's because we go to great lengths to hide it from each another. We pretend like we've got everything under control. We've got our act together. I'm not the person in need, that's someone else. We're so busy hiding that we are don't see our neighbor and their struggle.
     Here is a quote I find both helpful and challenging: “It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from Life Together
     I'm learning to admit it...I am in a great battle and a real sinner. I struggle to be the man, husband, father, son, brother, friend and human I should be. I depend daily on God's grace and am learning to be more open to both giving and receiving God's grace in my relationship with others. Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey as I grow in God's grace. I hope you know what a blessing you have been to me.


  1. Such a great and profound word! Thanks for walking with me through my struggles!

  2. Oh my! So thought provoking so early in the morning. I have to think about this some and comment later. Thanks for the thoughts. My one thought now is "We All Need Someone to Lean on" to Gain and keep our strength--Am I available to be vulnerable? Sandra

  3. You are a blessing to us Pastor Loren! Thank you for your insightful post. One trait I highly value is transparency. one aspect of that is to communicate with eye contact because "the eye is the window to the soul". (Matt. 6: 22,23; Shakespeare; Cicero,). You cannot be "too honest". Spoken truth, confession, one to another, sets you free from Satan's grip, spiritual bondage and and a life of hypocrisy.

  4. You hit a topic I think about often! I walk down the street, through the stores, the mall, wherever I am and I always look at people coming toward me. A large percentage never make eye contact. How sad! But sometimes I get a beautiful smile or even a greeting, give one back and it makes my effort all worth it!! Thanks Pastor!!

  5. Spot on. So good I had Ouzel read this as well. The struggle gives us some commonality. When we deny it we hide and are so busy hiding we can't see and extend compassion to others.


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