It is a strange title! Isn’t it? What is meant by the minus and addition signs along with the word compassion? It is rather confusing! Has the author used it just to catch attention?

Let me share a story.

My sister got scratched by a stray dog. She was taken to the hospital where a friend procured the required vaccine. We did not need a doctor as my mother is a deft nurse. She did a great job! My sister got five powerful shots. It is worth noting that the point of the scratch was at the bony part of the foot, just a little above the toes, making it even more painful. My sister covered her eyes with one hand, and with the other, she clutched the bedsheet. My mom was inflicting torturous pain on her. Should she, therefore, score a minus on the compassion scale? Not at all! She inflicted temporary pain in order to prevent her from a life-threatening disease. Under that cold and brutal act was a tender heart, full of love.

You are bound to hear many, almost all the people talk about compassion these days. That is good, we ought to be compassionate. However, if our compassion was to be tested on a scale, most, if not all, would score in minus. Compassion is not just a strong emotion. It ought to be a planned and calculated action. We might be compassionate (+) in our talks yet, our actions can end up in the minus (-), creating chaos for ourselves and others.

So why is compassion used too much as a word, and not so much as a real act? There are at least three reasons:

1) The desire to be accepted by groups that profess to be victims. These are not powerless, voiceless victims. If they were, they would behave like victims. One does not need a degree in body language to gauge that. Instead, these “so-called victims” can be shrewd predators. They are not even in the sheep clothing! They are rather conspicuous wolves, trained to bleat like the sheep. Unfortunately, common people blindfold themselves and shout- Compassion! Compassion! For the fear that these “victims” will turn and split them apart.

2) Compassion is a vogue. Have you seen people who take on any latest fashion even when it doesn’t suit their skin or body type? Vogue is stylish! So why not wear it even when we actually do not know the what, how and the why of it.

3) Deep down in our hearts, all of us feel a gaping hole. We also know that it can only be filled by God, whom we are running away from. So to fill that gap, humans need a pseudo-god. This term ‘compassion’ becomes that god! It helps them feel good and moral; brushing in their guilt under the rug. Since they have no sense of meaning and purpose without God, they ‘make up’ a fake meaning and a fake purpose of their own by worshipping their fake god.

True compassion is to:

Feel the pain of another person in your heart

To think of their betterment in your mind, and

To teach them to think correctly, speak honestly, write clearly and

Most importantly, act righteously.

If a child says that he is a superman, only a brute would tie a cape around his neck and push from the building saying, “I believe in you son! Go save the world!” Sometimes compassion has to be stern, straight forward and conservative. To hold back from your child, that which is not good, is the best gift a parent could give. Compassion – Wisdom = Disasters. Compassion + Wisdom= Life. A better life, not for the group you protest for! Rather a better life for all in society, despite their caste, colour, creed, race, gender, age etc.

In his letters to Malcolm, C.S. Lewis said, “Take care. It is so easy to break eggs without making omelettes.” Next time you look at someone who is broken in some area of their life, do not just break the eggs and make some noise! Rather, make an omelette and serve them. Compassion is not ‘just’ an emotion nor is it a frenzied reaction. It is an act driven by a strong emotion sustained by reason. Jesus is the perfect example of such a balance between emotion and reason.

John Stuart puts it well,

“He was so austere, that demons cried out in terror at His coming

Yet He was so genial and winsome and approachable,

That the children loved to play with him and little ones nestled in His arms.

No one was half so compassionate towards sinners,

Yet no one ever spoke such red hot scorching words about sin.”

When the WORD takes birth in us, we become the true embodiment of compassion. Mother Teresa and the myriad of other Christians, selflessly helped and still help others because they follow the One whose life is the very definition of the word compassion (+). I draw my inspiration of true compassion from the life of my Master, Jesus Christ. When I read Matthew 8:33, I find that Jesus did not just saw and felt, He touched the untouchable. He did the unthinkable, all for love. His compassion was compassion in action.

“The Lord is merciful and good; our God is compassionate.”

Psalm 116:5

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