Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12, NIV In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul pours out his love and hopes for them. He expresses his desire for them to keep hold of the truth of the Gospel and the eternal hope they have in Christ. He also draws out the implications of those truths--namely, that through Jesus they can learn to love each other. And while he encourages them to focus on the eternal, he doesn't neglect the practical. In fact, Colossians 3 contains a wealth of relationship-building advice. Paul advises that we put off anger, dishonesty, and other relationship destroyers. Then he tells us to put on five virtues: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Over the next few days we will explore each of these items of “clothing” in turn. First, let’s talk about compassion. When we feel compassion for someone, we are deeply moved by their misfortune, moved to the point of helping in some way. True compassion combines both experiencing the emotions of “walking in someone’s shoes” and responding to those emotions with caring assistance. Many of us express compassion to strangers through giving donations that feed the hungry, provide medicine for the sick, build schools for poor children, and send Bibles to persecuted believers. Compassion also has a place in our interactions with spouses, friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. In the course of any given day, you will encounter at least one person who is feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, worries, depressed, grieved, troubled, or lonely. How you respond to them will have a big impact on your relationship. Compassion is Jesus seeing the crowds confused and helpless and responding by sending his disciples to point them to the Shepherd (Matthew 9:36-37). It’s feeling someone’s need and responding with the love of Christ. Through compassion, we build connection. As you go about your day, pay extra close attention to what others are feeling and dealing with. Does an attitude of compassion change how you respond to them? How?