Sometimes, we just don’t know what to do with someone else’s bad situation. Bad perpetrators perform a wide range of evil deeds meant to hurt, degrade, and devastate. How can we help ease the pain of the victims?

Thankfully, there are only two steps to helping the hurting: step one – allow yourself to see with your heart and step two – perform an act of kindness.

Compassion is joining feelings of concern with acts of kindness.

Step One: Allow yourself to see with your heart.

Too often we live behind protective walls that allow us to be spectators of others’ tragedy but keep us from becoming involved. Victims and their families need to know that someone sees and cares about the horrible thing that happened to them. Three examples of step one are:

  • Pharaoh’s daughter opened a basket that was floating down the river, saw a crying child, and had compassion on him (Exodus 2:5,6).

  • A group of people saw the desolate situation of David and those with him as they ran from Absalom. They said, “The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness” (II Samuel 17:29).

  • From April 2016 to March 2017, there were 270 victims of violent crimes in St. Louis and St. Louis County. The mission of the Crime Victims Advocacy Center (CVAC) and the Homicide, Ministers, and Community Alliance HMCA) is to see and care.

Step Two: Perform an Act of Kindness.

The lasting devastation evil perpetrators intend is nullified by compassionate acts. The victims will still hurt, cry, and sorrow, but acts of compassion help them to not be consumed by hopelessness.

Following are the compassionate acts of the people mentioned above who saw with their hearts:

  • Even though she knew her father had ordered the death of the Hebrew boy babies, Pharaoh’s daughter took Moses into her home as her son, allowed his mother to nurse him, and raised him to adulthood in the palace. Her act of compassion preserved Moses, the one God would use to free His people (The Book of Exodus). Pharaoh did not win.

  • This group brought beds, food, and earthen vessels to David in the wilderness. He and those with him were enabled to survive until they could thrive again (II Samuel 17:28-29). Absalom did not win.

  • On April 22, 2017, the CVAC and HMCA held a vigil for the families and friends of 270 victims of violent crimes. The Mayor, police officers, detectives, and police chiefs spoke comforting words to those they had first encountered in unpleasant circumstances. Tearful mothers, fathers, and siblings graciously received the comfort offered. At least for this one day, compassion bridged the gap between law enforcement and hurting citizens. The violent perpetrators will not win.

Who do you know that is hurting? Ask God to help you really see them and to give you a way to show compassion. It could be as simple as a smile or as uncomfortable as giving a stranger a ride home after a violent event. Decide not to be a spectator but a participator in the war against cruelty. Be an agent of compassion. Remember, compassion conquers cruelty.

Share the last time you showed compassion. How did you feel?