It’s not hard to be kind and generous to those whom we see deserving of our compassionate acts – taking a meal to a new mother or someone who’s ill, providing financial assistance to a family who is struggling out of no fault of their own, or offering periodic childcare for our close friends. But how much harder is it to have compassionate responses to people during their worst moments? . . .
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, quoting King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon, exclaims the same thing: “Are we not all beggars?” He continues by saying, “Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest of us do exactly the same thing...Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.”
Christ was the ultimate teacher of compassion and charity. He lived his life to teach us a higher law and a higher way to be. Responding with compassion is what Christ did and is the way that brings growth and progression to us. Three personal experiences have proved to me that responding with compassion after Christ’s pattern is the way to heal hearts and help people want to be better.
Living in the city, we often take the subway or bus to get where we need to go. One day my son and I were on a bus when we noticed a mother and her toddler daughter. The toddler had a lot of playfulness in her, and I could tell that her mother’s patience was quickly fading. To get her to comply, the mother began to repeatedly hit her child and threatened more if she didn’t stop crying.