Friday, October 30, 2015

Compassion, Charity and Love {Grant's Talk}

Grant was asked to speak in our Ward last Sunday on "whatever he wanted to..."

He picked Compassion and Empathy....

{The day after , his talk, we sat in a doctors office and witnessed the same kind of compassion and empathy he had just spoken of the day before. Our grateful we are for those who show us constant compassion and empathy. We really are blessed.}

Compassion, Charity and Love:

David A Bednar
"Understanding that the Church is a learning laboratory helps us to prepare for and an inevitable reality. In some way and at some time, someone in this Church will do or say something that could be considered offensive. Such an event will surely happen to each and every one of us--and it certainly will occur more than once. Though people may not intend to injure or offend us, they nonetheless can be inconsiderate and tactless.
You and I cannot control the intentions or behaviour of other people. However, we determine how we will act.  Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended.
One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others. A thing, an event, or an expression may be offensive, but you and I can choose not to be offended."
This, however does not excuse ourselves from being rude, or judgemental towards others in situations we do not understand.

Thomas S Monson Said
"Let us not demean or belittle.  Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging.  We must be careful that we do not destroy another person's confidence though careless words or actions."

CS Lewis wrote:  When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious is some sin against charity.  I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stomped and stormed.  And the excuse that immediately springs to mind is that the provocation against me was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard.  I had not time to collect myself.  On the other hand surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is.  Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the best truth…
If there were rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in suddenly.  But the suddenness did not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding.  In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill tempered man: it only shows me what an ill tempered man I am.

What does it mean to be Charitable or have compassion?

Maya Angelo said,
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will not forget how you made them feel.”

Jesus provided us many examples of compassionate concern. The crippled man at the pool of Bethesda; the woman taken in adultery; the woman at Jacob’s well; the daughter of Jairus; Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha—each represented a casualty on the Jericho road. Each needed help.
To the cripple at Bethesda, Jesus said, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” 4 To the sinful woman came the counsel, “Go, and sin no more.” To help her who came to draw water, He provided a well of water “springing up into everlasting life.” To the dead daughter of Jairus came the command, “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” To the entombed Lazarus, “Come forth.”

The Savior has always shown unlimited capacity for compassion.

On the American continent, Jesus appeared to a multitude and said:
“Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you. …
“… And he did heal them every

Sympathy and Empathy
Brene Brown  PhD researcher.

What is Empathy and Why is it very Different from Sympathy?

Empathy Fuels connection!

Sympathy Drives Disconnection!

Empathy is feeling with people.

I always think of empathy as this sacred space.  when someone is kind of in a deep hole and they shout out from the bottom,
 they say " I am stuck, it's dark down here, I'm overwhelmed."
and then we look and we say hey and climb down and say
 "I know what it's like down here, and you are not alone."

Sympathy is saying " ohh, its bad eh, ahh no I'm not coming down,  Wanna casserole."
Empathy is a choice.  And it's a vulnerable choice.  Because in order to connect with you I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling.

Rarely if ever does an empathic response begin with "at Least"  We do it all the time!  Because you know what,  somebody just shared something with us that is incredibly painful and we are trying to put a silverlining on it.

So someone says something like "I just had a miscarriage" the response is " at least you know you can get pregnant" or "I think my marriage is falling apart." "at least you had a marriage." or "John is getting kicked out of school." " Well at least Sally is an A student"

But one of the things we do sometimes in the face of very difficult conversations is we try to make things better.  

If I share something with you that is very difficult, I would rather you say "I don't even know what to say right now, I'm just glad you told me!"

Because the truth is rarely can  a response make something better.
What makes something better IS CONNECTION.

Empathy is when somebody hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back.

Empathy is compassion.  We talk of charity as the pure love of Christ.  Christ was all about connecting with those he taught, but most of all to those he healed.  He went down to the lepper, he went down to the sick, the blind the infirm,  he connected with them and in his compassion he healed them.  The very essence of the atonement is about climbing down in that hole with someone and saying "I know what it is like down here and you are not alone."
D & C 88:6 "He that ascended up on high, also descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth.
D & C 122: 8  "The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?"

James E Faust
"The Atonement not only benefits the sinner but also benefits those sinned against—that is, the victims. By forgiving “those who trespass against us” (JST, Matt. 6:13) the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort to those who have been innocently victimized by the sins of others. The basic source for the healing of the soul is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. "
"One of the most courageous decisions you'll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul."

To take this to another level consider the reaction of men and women who have had conversion experiences.

After the remarkable transformation of the sons of Mosiah with Alma the Younger,  Their thoughts immediately turned to the Lamanites for they ``Could not bear that any human soul should perish`` Mosiah 28:3

And after Enos had prayed all night he ``Began to feel desire for the welfare of his brethren; wherefore he did pore out his whole soul unto god for them`` Enos1:9

For conversion to take its place in our lives we must come to perfect understanding of our relationship with Christ.  To be self loathing and deny ourselves our God given right to call upon the attonement is to deny Christ himself.  It is to deny his ministry and purpose.  If we fail to claim the mercy of the atonement it is to claim that the suffering in gasthemane and ultimately Christ's death were in vain.  Alma the younger gained this knowledge in a tremendous way with his experience as did Enos as he prayed day and night to be forgiven of his sins.  Though these were extreme experiences and our own can be a much slower process, we cannot deny ourselves the Mercy of Christ's sacrifice.  If we do we leave ourselves open to the justice of the Father and we will suffer for ourselves.

To be born again is to gain a deeper sensitivity, thus gaining godly attributes and qualities, experiencing the new birth entails feeling a deeper compassion for those who mourn or suffer or reach out for succor.

The question is, Can we change?
In order to change we need to understand Charity.  It is the greatest of all the spiritual gifts, but may be the most underestimated or least understood.  We tend to define charity as something we do or feel, but in our Heavenly Father`s vernacular, charity means much more.

Charity is not an emotion.  It is not something we feel or do.  Charity is who the Saviour is.  It is His most defining and Dominant attribute.  It is what enables him to endure the Garden and the cross for you and Me.

Charity is a bestowal, a gift from our Heavenly Father.  Mormon taught that we are ``to pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart`` that we may be ``filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of His Son, Jesus Christ.

So when we are praying or pleading for Charity we aren`t asking for good feelings and warm fuzzies for someone who bugs us or someone who has injured us.  We are praying for our very natures to be changed, for our character and dispositions to become more like the Saviour`s so we can feel as he would and do as he would.

That is why Mormon continued to teach us that when the Saviour appears those who have been gifted with charity ``shall  be like him, for they shall see him as he is``.
Joseph Smith taught that ``Love is one of the chief characteristics of diety, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the Sons and Daughters of God.

CS Lewis went on to say ``And If what we are matters even more than what we do- if indeed what we do matters chiefly as evidence of what we are- then it follows that the change which we most need to undergo is a change that my own direct, voluntary efforts cannot bring about…I cannot, by direct, moral effort, give myself new motives.  After the first few steps in the Christian life we realise that everything which  really needs to be done in our souls can be done by God alone.``
Again Charity is a bestowal from the Father to the true followers of his Son.  He and only he can change our hearts and our natures.

Moroni 7:45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Brene Brown
"So many of us are better at inflicting pain than we are at feeling it.  We push hurt onto others rather than turning toward it and feeling our way through the darkness.  It requires tremendous courage to get curios about our hurt and lean into it, but I believe in our collective ability to do it."

My prayer is that we may each seek after this gift of charity that we can become like the Saviour and take hold of one another and be kind and filled with love, that we might follow the Lords admonishment in D&C 84
106 And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also.
110 Also the body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together, that the system may be kept perfect.
Let us put aside our anger and strife that there may be no ITES among us that we would seek to be united in all things, That we may be ``the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God``4 Nephi 1:17
There is no way to overestimate the strength we can be to one another as our natures increase in Charity.

Jeffery R Holland
"Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed.  While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and Kind."

1 comment:

  1. Holy God this was an excellent talk brother Kramer!
    I love hearing talks like this! Leaning into the pain! It does take amazing courage that can only be had if we have sufficient charity in our hearts for sure!
    Amazing life discoveries are made if ones presses into pain with charity! Wow thanks for the reminder! This is a great way to fight back and turn bitter bile into sweet butterscotch!
    God bless you and the fam and everyone who looks like ye goodly peoplz. :-D Thank you for taking the time to share.
    I love how you mentioned the church is like a lab as well! That experimenting mentioned in Alma 32 was very attractive to me when I first joined. We are invited to be like spiritual/emotional/social scientists! How full a teaching is that! What confidence the Lord puts in us to allow us to do such things! Freedom is such a curious blessing!

    Goodnight. :-)
    -bro James C. MacLean-