How To Talk To Your Kids About Compassion

By Jessica Wolstenholm

Compassion seems like a character trait that should come relatively easy for a Christ follower. I mean, we are the church. Our purpose is to spread the Good News and take care of others, specifically those who are in need. But over the last week many of us, some who call themselves Christ followers, have lacked compassion. Some have used their public voice in social media or personal blogs to tell the world (or their world) that bad things happen to those who deserve it.

Parents, we are the living example to our kids of how to treat others. We teach them the Golden Rule, and then forget to use the same guideline in talking about others. Why? Because we do it in Jesus’ name? Or maybe it really isn’t unkind if it’s just a harmless post on Facebook or Twitter, or something carelessly spoken over the phone or at the dinner table? The thing is, we can’t rightfully expect our kids to, “Do as I say not as I do.” They will undoubtedly learn that it’s okay to pass judgement on a person and speak unkind things about those who may not share our own politics, theology or philosophies.

Compassion is synonymous with pity, mercy, concern, and sympathy. It doesn’t base itself on vindication or punishment due to someone who is suffering. Instead, it stands alone as true empathy for those who are suffering or broken-hearted. We can disagree with someone, but compassion for that person can and should still be present if they are dealing with misfortune.

If we let our kids see and hear our compassion for others, they too will have a better chance at growing into a compassionate adult. One who prays for those suffering and the broken-hearted, no matter who they are.

We ALL fall from the righteousness of God. His grace is abundant, yet so undeserved. If we remember to treat others with love and compassion, we are truly acting like followers of Christ. We are then teaching our kids to treat others the way they would also want to be treated…no matter what.

What does God’s Word say about compassion? Why should I care about those who are so different from me, anyway?

Psalm 78:38-39 Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them, he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Romans 2:1-2 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.