Being Compassionate is "Brain Surgery"…

This is going to be one of my “deep” posts so hang in there. You won’t find much humor in it but hopefully you will find something to think about.

What does it take for a person to become compassionate? It seems that due to the hard economic times we have been in for the last ten years or more that we are becoming a nation of primarily looking out for ourselves. I am just a simple guy but I can understand some of this.

Many times a person who had a stable middle class job is now struggling with two minimum wage jobs. They see the worlds looking backwards instead of forward. For them the best is NOT yet to come. They are extremely bitter, and who can blame them. They don’t see that they will ever have it as well as they once did. That bitterness bleeds off any compassion they might have had.

But even for those who have managed to cling to that middle class job they have not seen any real raise in almost twenty year. At the same time they see the CEO of their company have his salary doubled on a regular basis by shipping jobs out of the country. They see those around them getting laid off and they who remain must pick up the work of those let go. They see their turn to lose their job just around the corner.

Who can have compassion at time like these? But even those who have stories similar to the above must realize that there are those who have it much worse than they do. There are those who, for one reason or another, have trouble even putting food on their families’ table. Some of this may be due to the fact that they are drowning in medical bills. Some may be because the primary bread-winner died unexpectedly. Whatever the reason they are struggling at a much more basic level than even those who have lost their middle class status in society.

Compassion is sometimes a very hard to maintain a hold on. It is easy to fall into the self-pity mode where you concentrate only on your personal problems or conditions. But one of the main things that separate human from all the other species is our ability to have compassion; that is to think outside of ourselves.

So, in some way being compassionate is complicated like brain surgery. Man’s sinful nature wants to go in another direction than what compassion dictates. Most of the world’s religions, including obviously Christianity, has as one of its foundation loving your neighbor. Even outside of religion it has a name. It is called the golden rule.

2 thoughts on “Being Compassionate is "Brain Surgery"…

  1. Fine post. It brings to mind all the stories my folks used to tell us about living through the Great Depression – sounded like a whole lot more compassion was present back then compared to now.

    My theory is that back then everyone felt that struggling was the norm for most everyone – and didn’t have TV ads throwing luxury offers in their faces. As Eisenhower allegedly said, “Growing up, we were dirt poor – but we didn’t realize it at the time.” I used to kid about my time growing up, that the only thing that we got brand new was our food. And it felt quite normal and okay.

    Today, it seems that struggling or being poor is considered failure and full of blame – in both directions. One is constantly reminded how much one doesn’t have and can’t even contemplate possessing, even though “You deserve a break today” is the common theme.


  2. Welcome to the reconfigured blog Steve. It sounds like your images of growing up pretty much reflected mine. I am the son of a milk man and they didn’t make much money. I was also the first one on either side of the family to go to college. We didn’t have much but, as you say I didn’t know it. I thought everyone got two pairs of jeans and a package of new t-shirts as their annual getting ready for school clothes 🙂 .
    The “Stuff” culture we are constantly bombarded with now lets us know that we are different from others or at least of others want to be.


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