Sympathy is the feeling of sorrow or genuine concern about the distress of another.
Compassion goes beyond sympathy in that it is not only a genuine concern for the distress of another, but it also acts upon that distress to provide a solution. It identifies with the suffering of another. That is what differentiates compassion from sympathy. Compassion is a powerful action word and it is an expression of the word that is ever impossible to define – love.
Often times I ask myself the question, “What would it be like to not have access to clean drinking water? What would it feel like to know that the water I am about to drink, the very thing that I need to survive, might also be what brings me pain or even death?” It is a placing of myself into the shoes of the people that we are seeking to help. When I do this and ask myself these questions I begin to feel compassion stir in my heart which then produces action to figure out how to provide a solution. Compassion is both painful and joyful. Painful because it requires that a person feel in their heart the pain of another. Joyful because it causes that person to bring a solution, whether the solution is a simple hug or providing the resources to drill a well, thus causing that person to experience the joy and fulfillment of knowing that they made a difference.
Arc Solutions was birthed, so to speak, from compassion. We are a team of staff, volunteers and partners all around the world who have recognized the suffering and need of those living in conflict zones. We have placed ourselves in their shoes and have been compelled to act and to do whatever is in our power to bring an end to their suffering.
Thank you to all of those who have joined us in this movement of compassion by recognizing the suffering of those in conflict zones and reaching out a helping hand to provide a solution!
By Benjamin Church