We tend to have compassion in the areas where we have been affected. Our compassion multiplies exponentially when we have suffered. It is in the heart of those who have once suffered to embrace those who are hurting, wanting somehow to spare them some of that now familiar pain.
Sometimes we suffer as a result of our own choices. Some people have compassion for this kind of suffering and others are put off by the thought. But consider that God has a tenderheartedness for us when we have strayed and have made choices that have broken His heart – no matter what we are, no matter what we have become.
From Isaiah 57: 15b
“I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”
Throughout the Old Testament we read of God’s chosen people who repeatedly wander from their commitment to and love for God. God is forever coaxing His people back to Himself. “I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the Lord who heals them.” Isaiah 57:18-19
The condition of one’s heart is primary. We are all human, we have all done things that have hurt God and hurt others. But if we want to mirror the compassion of God then we think less about how a person came into the place of their suffering, and more about restoring the one before us who is made in the image of God.