Passion or Compassion
Alright. Stick with me. I think it will be worth it.
I debated on whether to put pictures and such…but…I think it would be more of a distraction about cool places or (if it were me) digress to pity. And pity is absolutely NOT the point here.
Without further ado…
“And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, ‘If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.’ And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, ‘I will; be thou clean.’” Mark 1:40-41
So let’s educate ourselves for a second. Pay attention to the parts of speech (verb or noun).
This is the definition we get from the Greek in the Bible.
Compassion-splagchnizomai- (verb)- to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)- [Matt 9:36, 14:14, 15:32, 18:27, 20:34. Mark 1:41, 6:34, 8:2, 9:22. Luke 7:13, 10:33, 15:20]
This is what you get out of your American dictionary.
Compassion– (noun)- a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering; Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.
Passion– (noun)- any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate; a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything; an outburst of strong emotion or feeling; the object of such a fondness or desire; boundless enthusiasm; the object of such enthusiasm
Jesus was moved by compassion. Jesus met people’s needs.
I tend to be moved by passion in order to meet my own.
I ask “What do I want to do?” instead of “what needs to be done to meet this person/people’s need?”
“What am I good at?” instead of “What can I do to help?”
People tend to be moved by passion which supports areas of personal success, achievement through one’s own ability, and personal fulfillment. It gives one a sense of being good at something—it gives personal affirmation and boosts the self-esteem.
I’ve said it many times. I do what I’m good at.
Sure, I love to try new things and learn more about sports, music, academics or whatever. But if I’m not good at something, I’m probably not going to enjoy it when the pressure is on.
So what are you passionate about?
Probably something you can do well under pressure or something that society and the people you want to fit in with think you should do.
If you’re passionate about something and don’t do it, you’re probably just not comfortable enough with it yet to just jump (probably from past experiences or circumstances which have limited your enthusiasm, determination or practice).
And if you are doing something you are not passionate about, odds are it is considered “wise” or “logical” or just “what you do” because everyone else is, too.
(This isn’t always a bad thing—being responsible is definitely important.)
But here’s the thing. You can be “passionate” about almost anything—baseball, rock climbing, clothes, Grey’s Anatomy…whatever!
But compassion requires people– a person- or some sort of a representation of humanity.
What about tree huggers who, you may argue, have compassion for the chopped up tree that I am metaphorically writing on now?!
They have compassion because the have personified the object- made it represent humanity- given it feelings- given it a person-like identity…(not to mention how important it is for our survival.)
Dog-lovers, Turtle-lovers…all of those people who seem to be active about something…
The key here is that they are moved by it. They are moved to action.
Compassion is moving.
And notice…compassion meets an external need—the needs of one perceived to be in desperation.
One with passion may convince themselves that they are doing what they do in order to meet a need—but how long does it last? Until the need is met or until the passion runs dry?
Compassion meets the need and is motivated by humanity.
Passion is motivated by self and, while it may lead to meeting a need, it satisfies the one that is passionate…not always the one that is desperate.
Yes—“find that thing you have passion for and do it”…but let compassion-motivated action override the passion-driven.
“Practical work may be a competitor against abandonment to God, because
practical work is based on this argument—Remember how useful you are
here, or—Think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.
That attitude does not put Jesus Christ as the Guide as to where we should go,
but our judgement as to where we are of most use. Never consider whether you
are of use; but ever consider that you are not your own but His.”