Quotes on Compassion

We don’t need a bishop’s assignment to be kind.  We don’t need to sign up to be thoughtful.  We don’t need to be sustained by our wards to be sensitive.  Rejoice in the power you have within you from Christ to be a nucleus of love, forgiveness, and compassion. — Chieko N. Okazaki, Ensign, November 1991, p. 89

I suspect the Savior may have been at least partially spent physically after forty days of fasting – and somewhat spiritually drained after His encounter with the adversary. With this background information in mind, please turn with me now to Matthew 4, and together we will read verse 11:  “Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”

This verse in the King James version of the New Testament clearly indicates that angels came and ministered to the Savior after the devil had departed.  And, undoubtedly, Jesus would have benefitted from and been blessed by such a heavenly ministration in a time of physical and spiritual need.

However, the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 4:11 provides a remarkable insight into the character of Christ.  Please note the important differences in verse 11 between the King James version and the Joseph Smith Translation: “Then the devil leaveth him, and, now Jesus knew that John was cast into prison, and he sent angels, and, behold, they came and ministered unto him (John).”

Interestingly, the additions found in the JST completely change our understanding of this event.  Angels did not come and minister to the Savior; rather, the Savior, in His own state of spiritual, mental, and physical distress, sent angels to minister to John. Brothers and sisters, it is important for us to recognize that Jesus in the midst of His own challenge recognized and appropriately responded to John – who was experiencing a similar but lesser challenge than that of the Savior’s.  Thus, the character of Christ is manifested as He reached outward and ministered to one who was suffering – even as He himself was experiencing anguish and torment. — David A. Bednar, “The Character of Christ,” BYU-Idaho Symposium, Jan. 25, 2003

Referring to the suffering of the Martin and Willie handcart companies, President Hinckley said:  “I am grateful that those days of pioneering are behind us.  I am thankful that we do not have brethren and sisters stranded in the snow, freezing and dying, while trying to get to this, their Zion in the mountains.  But there are people, not a few, whose circumstances are desperate and who cry out for help and relief.

There are so many who are hungry and destitute across this world who need help. . . . Ours is a great and solemn duty to reach out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry, to nurture their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness.

There are so many young people who wander aimlessly and walk the tragic train of drugs, gangs, immorality, and the whole brood of ills that accompany these things.  There are widows who long for friendly voices and that spirit of anxious concerns which speaks of love.  There are those who were once warm in the faith, but whose faith has grown cold. Many of them wish to come back but do not know quite how to do it.  They need friendly hands reaching out to them.  With a little effort, many of them can be brought back to the feast again at the table of the Lord. 

My brethren and sisters, I would hope, I would pray that each of us . . . would resolve to seek those who need help, who are in desperate and difficult circumstances, and lift them in the spirit of love into the embrace of the Church, where strong hands and loving hearts will warm them, comfort them, sustain them, and put them on the way of happy and productive lives. — President Gordon B Hinckley, “Reach with a Rescuing Hand,” Ensign, November 1996, p. 86

One may have many talents and knowledge but never acquire wisdom because he does not learn to be compassionate with his fellow man.  We will never approach godliness until we learn to love and lift.  Indifference to others and their plight denies us life’s sweetest moments of joy and service. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton,  “The Measure Of Our Hearts,” General Conference, October 1988

The Lord is more merciful to the people than we are . . . . He has compassion on the works of his hands. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 14:149