COMPASSION – Learning to Be a Compassionate Friend

Little Emily in her Own Little World

On the way home from school the kids on the bus were laughing and telling each other stories about their day.  Emily sat quietly, looking out her window with her eyes glazed over.  Yes, Emily was in her own little world again.

Caring for a Friend with Compassion

Today, when her friend Bethany came to school, Emily noticed her cheeks and nose were super red and she had tears running down her face. Emily’s heart filled with compassion and she wanted to comfort her friend.

At recess, Emily determined to find out why Bethany was upset. “Bethany,” Emily began, “Is something wrong?”  Bethany looked down at her shoes.  She didn’t answer Emily right away. It looked, to Emily, like she was trying to hold back the tears. Emily waited patiently. Emily decided to reach for her friend’s hand and as she did Bethany’s lip began to quiver. “Tell me what’s wrong Bethany,” said Emily. Bethany looked up at Emily, her eyes lashes were heavy with tears.

Bethany began, “I don’t know what to do Emily.”  Bethany was trembling so Emily reached over and hugged her friend around the neck. Just then a giant flood of sobs came out of Bethany’s mouth. Emily could not imagine what would hurt her friend so badly that she sobbed out loud in public.

My Mom Wants a Divorce

When Bethany’s tears slowed down she spoke. “My Mom and Dad got into a big fight last night.  They screamed at each other and then my Mom said she wants a divorce.  My Dad didn’t care, he told her, go ahead, see if I care, I hope you find the life you are looking for!” Emily thought about what Bethany said, it was hard for her to understand.  Her Mama and Daddy got crabby sometimes but they were never that mean to each other.

COMPASSION - Learning to Be a Compassionate Friend
Teach Kids to Be Kind and Compassionate

Jesus Cares and He Answers Prayer

Emily said a prayer, in her heart, asking God to help her be a good friend to Bethany. “I’m sorry Bethany, I can tell this is really hard for you.”  Bethany shook her head, up and down, as fresh tears filled her eyes. Emmy patted her hand and looked deep into Bethany’s eyes, “I will pray for you and you can pray too, Bethany. Jesus cares and he hears our prayers.” 

Emily knew Bethany didn’t go to Church and when Emily mentioned Jesus to Bethany, she changed the subject.  But today, she didn’t, instead, she asked, “Emily, do you really believe that Jesus is real?”  “Yes, I do, I really do. There is no one on earth who will ever care for you more than Jesus.”  Emily heard Bethany take a deep breath, she looked relieved.

Jesus loves me, this I know
Jesus Loves Me

Emily’s bus stop was next.  After the bus stopped in front of Emily’s house she ran to the front. The bus door opened, and Emily turned to the bus driver saying, “Thanks, Mr. Charlie, I will see you tomorrow.” Mr. Charlie smiled. Emily spotted his two large front teeth. They had a big space between them and Emily thought they made Mr. Charlie special.  She didn’t know anyone who had teeth or a smile like Mr. Charlie’s.

Walking toward the house Emily turned her thoughts back to Bethany.  She wanted to talk to Mama about her friend.

Emily Felt Safe at Home

Opening the door she smelled cookies baking.  Mama called to her, “Emmy is it you?” “Yes, mama, it’s me.”  Emily felt warm inside when she heard Mama’s voice. She felt safe when she was home. But when she thought of Bethany’s home she felt sad.

I love chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mama was taking cookies out of the oven as Emily walked into the kitchen.  “Mama I need to talk to you.” Emily began.  Mama looked up and observed the worry lines on Emily’s forehead.  Walking toward Emmy, Mama pulled her into a hug as she gently kissed her on top of the head.  “What is it, sweetie?” “Mama, Bethany’s parents got in a big fight last night and said some awful things to each other.  Her Mom said she wants a divorce and her Dad said, he didn’t care.  Mama, poor Bethany was a mess today.” 

Mama looked concerned, “What did you tell her Emily?” “I told her I would pray for her and then I told her that she could pray too.  I also told her Jesus cares about her more than anyone else does.” Emily paused for a moment and then remembered, “You know what mama? usually, Bethany doesn’t want to hear about Jesus, but today she asked me if I thought Jesus was real.  I could hardly believe it!” 

A Heart of Compassion

Emily watched Mama’s face and knew she was thinking everything through. “Emily, God has gifted you with a heart of compassion and I am thankful for how much you care for Bethany.

COMPASSION - Learning to Be a Compassionate Friend
Compassion is Love in Action

Mama continued, “I’m also happy Jesus used you today!” There was a twinkle in Mama’s eyes as she continued, “He used your words to prompt Bethany to think about Jesus.  Your friend is hurting and we both know that only Jesus can reach into Bethy’s heart and give her peace. 

Did you know, Emily, many times God allows us to go through hard things to get our attention? Emily thought about that, it was a new idea to her.  Mama placed her hand on Emily’s shoulder as she said, “Let’s pray that Bethany continues to ask questions about Jesus and that Jesus opens her heart to receive his gift of salvation … In the meantime, she also needs a loyal friend to walk beside her in her pain.”  

hardships prepare people
Hard Times Quotes

Mama always knew how to help Emily work through a heartache.  “Mama, it felt so heavy in my heart to think of Bethany living in a house like that.  But you helped me see it differently.  Maybe God will use this hard time to grab Bethany’s heart.” “Yes, honey, I believe he will.  We need to pray he works not only in Bethany’s heart but with her Mom and Dad too.”  Mama continued, “Emily, how else do you think you could encourage your friend?”  Emily’s eyes rolled up and to the left, which was her thinking expression, and then she said, “Hmm, Maybe I’ll ask her to come to our house this Friday night. It will give her a break from the fighting and let her have some fun with our family?”  Mama smiled and said, “Good idea, Emily, I like how you think!” 

Turning Her Friend over to Jesus

After Emily talked to Mama she felt like a weight lifted off her heart.  She would give her friend to Jesus and ask him to help Bethany understand how much Jesus loves her and wants to make her his child. She would pray for Bethy’s Mom and Dad too. She will pray that they will learn to love each other.  Emily’s excitement grew as she thought about all the ways God might answer her prayers.