Courageous Compassion Part 2

Blog 5: Courageous Compassion Part 2: Enlightened Power

The courageous or fierce compassion was the most difficult facet of compassion for me to learn, since there is so much more to say I decided to write a second entry.  It does require effort to coalesce fierce with wisdom and tenderness. Jesus provides many examples of this when he interacted with others in the Gospels and today I will highlight a few, including his temptation in the desert; clearing the temple; and casting the demons into the pigs.

Both Matthew and Luke[1] record the temptation of Jesus after his baptism.  The devil tempted Jesus with appeals to his ego (humanness) with food, power and authority, and a challenge to prove Scripture.  Jesus denied the appeals to his ego and responded fiercely and with clarity.  He demonstrated the need to set boundaries on our egocentricity.  He responded from his core self one with God.

We have another example in the Gospels when Jesus cleared the temple are of those who were selling God.[2] Here we see Jesus’ single-minded determination to remove any obstacle to God.

I’ve never felt quite right about the pigs dying once Jesus cast the demons out of the men and into the swine[3].  What I see in this example is the courage and fierceness needed in the service of redemption and restoration.  This is not meant to justify violent action taken over the centuries in the name of salvation; most often that is fear and power rather than divine love.  Rather this story is one of many healing stories in Matthew 8.  Divine Love heals and restores with enlightened power, not with fear and egocentricity.  Sometimes we are called to do things that we wouldn’t ordinarily do to live with integrity and divine love.

The key to fierceness when living a life of compassion is that it is born of love for the other and what is most beneficial.  It is fierceness of the heart.  Any transformation process requires this “fierceness.”   Out of the deepest ground of our being arises an awareness that another is being hurt, or hurting, and there is something that we can do about it.  The fierceness of the heart requires that we do what we can to alleviate suffering.  This is the primary motivation behind fierce compassion.  It is strength born of love, not anger or egocentricity.

 

[1] Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13.

[2] Mark 11:15-17; Matthew 21:12-13; Luke 19:45-46.

[3] Matthew 8:28-32

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