The Courage of Compassion

Posted date: May 2, 2023

by: Admin My Local Life
A Book Review by Bernadette Mills

"Gosh, I hope I didn't offend you." My friend says to me as he comes through my door. "How So?" I ask. "That post I made on Facebook about how all {people with your political views slur} are imbeciles – You know I didn't mean you, though, right... you’re pretty smart and I would never say that about you or want to hurt you" He stammers awkwardly. People are hard to hate up close when you get to know them. It’s almost impossible to hate someone unless you "other" them, make them an outsider, unworthy, unlovable.

I have often struggled with the lack of dignity that I see people treated with. Whether it is a mom struggling with drug addiction or a person who is disabled struggling with poverty, we treat them so badly in this country. I've seen it in the comments on the internet, and I've heard it in conversations at the grocery store. We seem to struggle with loving the unlovely. We have difficulty finding the courage to be compassionate to people we can't understand. I found Robin's book to be comforting. I needed to know that there are people looking for ways to show compassion and reign in their own discomfort and judgment in their everyday life. I agree with her assessment that there are two kinds of people: there are Good People, and then there are Good People who are hurting.

Is it fair to judge a person's life based on the worst thing they have ever done? We don't have to condone poor decisions, but can we just extend enough grace to treat them with dignity? After spending decades as a defense attorney Robin asks us to stop dismissing the humanity of people charged with serious crimes and continue to serve them in their time of need. I would ask you to read this book, then scale down these concepts and use them to show grace to your coworkers from different generations (with different values), have compassion for your friends with different political views, and give grace to your teenagers. Paul McCartney once said, "In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Have we, not all needed compassion?
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