Charter for compassion

Here’s something to try: when you hear the word “love,” make a practice of translating it to “compassion.”

What a difference it makes.

Imagine if spouses vowed to have compassion for each other, instead of to love one another. Would a compassionate spouse be able to physically, emotionally or mentally abuse his or her partner? Too often people stay in abusive relationships because they believe it when their partner tells them that they love them. Is that love? It’s certainly not compassion.  

Some scholars suggest that the word that has been traditionally translated as love in the Bible would be more accurately translated as compassion. When I look at our ancient religious stories that way, I feel like, in the past, I looked at them without my glasses, but compassion puts the right lens in front of my eyes and I finally see clearly. Consider the Golden Rule, or the greatest commandment, a version of which is found in every major religion: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Have compassion for your neighbour. Have compassion for yourself.

The Charter for Compassion drafted by a multi-faith, multi-national group who want to restore compassion to the root of global dialogue and action. Almost 58,000 people have signed it so far.  Have a look.

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