RADICAL COMPASSION IS NEEDED NOW ~ Blog # 19
Updated: Jun 8
There is a lot of pain in the United States, and there is a lot of love. Often what we focus on grows stronger. I am in no way suggesting that we ignore prejudice or that we do not work on making changes in our judicial system that have for too long protected those who have more money and power. I am suggesting that we open our hearts to have compassion for others that we do not understand. There is a need for honest sharing and for making our best effort to understand where another is coming from in place of judging them.
I believe that the “I Have a Dream…” speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr is the most moving speech I have ever heard. I would like to share one paragraph from that speech that is particularly touches my heart.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content
of their character. I have a dream … I have a dream that one day in
Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping
with words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama
little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white
boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
It is time for us to focus on love and compassion and to steadfastly work on becoming more aware of the damage that prejudice and hatred have on both those that it targets and the persons that harbor it. It is time to sit in dialogue to realize that we are more alike than we are different. It is time that we overcome our fears that divide us, and together work on making the world a safer and better place for all people.
I would like to share a few ideas I wrote back in 2013. I titled this work “Radical Compassion.”
Compassion flows from the heart and mind and is a genuine desire to extend caring to another.
It is easy to have compassion for an injured puppy that is whimpering in pain.
Most would be quick to comfort a young child who has fallen and skinned a knee.
We usually care about family members and close friends when they suffer a loss or experience a severe illness.
Compassion often drives us to help another in need.
Yet there are times when it is most difficult to experience and show compassion.
Radical compassion is the ability to experience genuine caring for someone who dislikes us and wants to hurt us.
It is the desire for good things to happen to someone who has deeply hurt us.
Radical compassion may come from understanding that those who attack us often do so out of their own fear and prejudice.
It is easier to have compassion for the victim than the abuser until we understand that the abuser is often a victim as well.
Often those who are cruel have been treated with cruelty in childhood.
That does not justify what they do, but understanding what led to the
cruelty may make it easier to have compassion for them.
Radical compassion may stop a vicious cycle of ongoing revenge.
Radical compassion may heal the hatred and anger within your heart.
Radical compassion can help us to be less defensive toward others who are in power that we fear.
Radical compassion does not mean we submit to abuse or injustice, but it does mean that we will not inflict that abuse on others.
Radical compassion frees us from the power we give others over us when we become locked in a battle of vindictiveness.
Steve Daily 7/9/13