Virtue and Compassion Essay

Submitted By cherilynnclark8
Words: 2239
Pages: 9

If you look up compassion in the dictionary, you will see the following definition: A deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the wish to relieve it. The construct of compassion is not clearly defined in psychological literature. Another definition of compassion is a feeling of sorrow or concern for another person's suffering or need, accompanied by a subsequent desire to alleviate the suffering. Compassion is felt as an emotion: a feeling that anyone may experience at some point in his or her lives. There are many instances where one may perceive specific conditions in which people will be more likely to feel compassion. There are also differences in the degree of an individual’s feelings of compassion, and that many people and cultures view compassion as a basic human value. If I see someone in pain or someone struggling, my first instinct is to help, to listen, to be there for them. I will be there if someone needs help, if someone needs an ear, if someone just needs another friendly person who can provide a simple thing: to acknowledge that they are here, and that their gripe is valid. I would rather live like that. It does not always make life easier for the listener, though.
The Bible tells us of the many selfless and compassionate acts that Jesus performed during his time on
Earth, and His teachings to his disciples and followers about this topic. Jesus extends the virtues of mercy and compassion to us for our faults, which may have resulted from the temptations of our bodily needs, and specifically uses them to show His uncommon power to overcome these weaknesses. On a day-to-day basis, we are more aware of our physical circumstances than we are of our spiritual conditions. Although we exhibit a natural tendency to reject His offer of mercy, we should come to understand that the opportunity to receive spiritual help from Jesus is more important than what is merely required for our physical bodies. The experiences that Jesus had with confronting and ultimately resisting earthly temptations, and His final martyr-like suffering, put Him in a unique position to help us. In addition, by his example, we are inspired to be merciful and compassionate to one another.

In the book, The Road, the story tells the tale of a boy and his father, traveling south to escape the hard winter that is falling in a world devastated by an unnamed apocalyptic event, most likely a nuclear war. Along their harsh and dangerous journey, they encounter other survivors, most are of the unsavory variety, be it cannibals, thieves or rapists. McCarthy uses his book to examine why it is that some humans continue to hold onto hope in the face of such overwhelming odds, and why it is that others give up when faced with the same situations.
The father, who, like his son, remains unnamed throughout the entire story, feels obligated to keep on living in order to protect his remaining flesh and blood; his only child. His loyalty to the boy is so deep and profound that when his son asked, “what would you do if I died?” , the father replies, “if you died I would want to die too. So I could be with you.” (McCarthy’s The Road Chapter 11) The son is another example of a compassionate soul, for he is someone who is willing to put in the work to help others, and thereby improve the world around him, while the rest of humanity is running astray. He is similar by example to that of Jesus Christ- constantly looking for the good in people and the world. An incident where the son proves his compassion towards humanity is during the encounter with a wandering old man, whom the father is coaxed into feeding, by the pleading of the son. The father does not want to help, yet he sees his son has a need to, and asks, “What do you want to give him?” The boy replies, “We could cook something on the stove. He could eat with us.” The man is unwilling to hazard any exposure to find out whether this man is good or not, while the boy desires to renew