When we’ve made a mistake, instead of digging in our heels and holding tight to our defense, we could look around openly at the whole playing field. Who else was involved? What was their potential experience?

If there were others involved in our past mistakes, we can seek to understand their feelings and perspectives. If we share in their experience (compassion is actually defined as “shared suffering”), we may feel a desire to help or change, and in the process our compassion for others grows. Our eyes are opened to what we couldn’t before see. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Psychologists continually learn the personal benefits of having a compassionate heart. Here are just a few:

  • Feeling less judgmental of others
  • Having more desire to help others in challenging situations
  • Experiencing less desire for acting in anger
  • Wanting a more peaceful atmosphere

Besides the personal benefits, compassion opens our mind and hearts to others and their experiences. We step out of a narrow existence and into the shared experience of the human race, made in the image and likeness of God.

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