Compassion and Forgiveness

Compassion and Forgiveness

The heartfelt compassion that hastens forgiveness matures when we discover where our enemy cries.

     Brennan Manning

Understanding someone’s circumstances triggers the compassion that makes forgiveness possible. In his book Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning shares this story that gives us pause to reflect on the ways in which we instantly, often unfairly judge others around us:

Author Stephen Covey recalled an incident while riding the New York City subway one Sunday morning. The few passengers aboard were reading the newspaper or dozing. It was a quiet, almost somnolent ride through the bowels of the Big Apple.   Covey was engrossed in reading when a man accompanied by several small children boarded at the next stop. In less than a minute, bedlam erupted. The kids ran up and down the aisle shouting, screaming, and wrestling with one another on the floor. Their father made no attempt to intervene.

The elderly passengers shifted nervously. Stress became distress. Covey waited patiently. Surely the father would do something to restore some expression of paternal authority – anything. Nothing was forthcoming. Frustration mounted. After an unduly generous pause, covey turned to the father and said kindly, “Sir, perhaps you could restore order here by telling your children to come back and sit down.” “I know I should do something,” the man replied. “We just came from the hospital. Their mother died an hour ago. I just don’t know what to do.”

 

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