We are called to Love by Jesus. We are chosen to love as we are loved in the Community of God. We need exercise our calling or ministry in a sustainable and healthy manner.
There are three responses that is often exercised by people in response to need. Of these responses only one is healthy, sustainable and life giving-worthy of the community of God. The typical responses given in the name of compassion are: (1) Pity; (2) Sympathy; & (3) Empathy.
Pity is the most common response within the large Christian Community. In this, the person who thinks a proper response to need and grief is to stand aloof and hand-out to the one in need. It is almost a judgment of looking down at the grieving, aloof and giving a token resource with minimal involvement with one in need. The tossing of paper towels to people in need by the President Trump was an act of Pity. It is not a sustainable, healthy, loving and life-giving response to need.
Sympathy is the second most common. It is where the person in a ministerial response to need and grief looses their own identity. If the person in need is depressed, the helper gets depressed, if crying, the minister cries, angry is reflected in anger and so on. This mimic and mirror style of presence looks like caring but is unhealthy as the Christian response does not heal, does not empower but keeps the person in need in their helpless state and fools the doer into thinking they are being a help. It can lead to manipulation and co-dependency. It is not sustainable and healthy.
Empathy is the healthy, sustainable Christian response to need and reflects genuine love of Jesus. It empowers and assists the person to walk their own life journey. It is best described as the person in need as being a projector of their condition and the person who is ministering is a screen that gets the projected image of need. The person in ministerial compassionate love who receives the image or message fully is involved with the need as well as the person in need and has understanding. At the same time, the person who is ministering, still knows themselves, their gifts and their boundaries. They bring their understanding of God's love in a healthy and useful manner that empowers the person in need to have their autonomy and energy to live their lives fully. This is compassion and a true ministry of Jesus, and a healthy expression of love.