Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pity or Compassion?

To the best of my memory, I've never asked anyone for permission to repost a blog article. But this stands out as one of the best posts I've read. Ever. Today I share a worthy repeat from Connecting to Impact.

: : :

by Jason Stasyszen

There’s a show on History (you know, used to be the History Channel) called American Pickers. Now, I honestly don’t watch it all the time, but it is very entertaining.

I mean, just listen to the premise: two guys drive around in a van combing through barns, garages, and warehouses looking for treasures in a sea of hoarded items.

Okay, it doesn’t sound that amazing, but what makes it so great are the two guys who are so passionate and excited about what they’re looking for. They never know what they’ll find or even what they’re looking for entirely, but they love the thrill of finding that special treasure and bargaining with the owner to part with it.

I’ve decided I want to be more like this–but about people. I think there’s too much pity in the world and not enough compassion. We pity people for their hard childhood, their presently hard circumstances, their poor decisions… That’s not even mentioning that we often pity ourselves for much the same reasons.

These guys are passionate about seeing things not as they are currently or even what they were used for 50-100 years ago. It’s all about how these items can be cleaned up, repurposed, and made useful again. Their risks don’t always pay off, but it never dampens their enthusiasm.

Pity can’t do that. Pity won’t do that–because pity won’t even try.

God didn’t send us Jesus because He pitied us, but because He was passionate about us. Jesus didn’t heal, forgive, restore, and deliver out of pity, but because He had compassion and it always moved Him to change their lives. The more they hung around Him, the more their lives changed.

Likewise, Jesus isn’t building a Church that will pity the poor, blinded, broken, and desperate. We need to be passionate about how God sees them and us, never settling for a lesser vision.

→ Pity says “Don’t expect too much. We know it’s been really hard.”

→ Compassion says, “Get up! Take up your mat and walk.”

→ Pity says “I’ll just try to make you comfortable down there.”

→ Compassion says “There’s no reason you can’t come up here!”

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t change anyone and I won’t try. God has to do that, but He has a way of using those with hearts after Him. We get to be conduits of grace.

I’m tired of pitying a broken world full of hurting people. I want God’s compassion alive inside me to go out and find the treasures on the street corners, the grocery stores, the office buildings–and I want to allow God to touch my eyes so that I can see them the way God does.

I hope somebody’s with me today! What do you think? Care to add others to the list of pity says/compassion says?

: : :

Jason received some great responses over at his blog. My favorite comment was this, from Sandra Heska King:

"Pity is wallowing in the shallows with someone. Compassion is pulling them with you into the deep."

To see more comments, and to share your thoughts with Jason, click

© 2010 by Connecting to Impact all rights reserved. Used by permission of Jason Stasyszen, pictured here with wife Andrea. Thanks again, Jason!


  1. Thank you for sharing post and comment. Now I have something to think about. Blessing, Anne! I hope you are well in spirit, soul and body.

  2. Love this!

    Pity says "You're dirty. I'm sorry for you."

    Compassion says "Jump in the river with me."

    ~ Wendy

  3. Anne, it is such an honor that you reposted this here. I agree that it's a message we all need to hear over and over. It's exciting to think about Christ's body rising up in the compassion of the Father's heart. The world will never be the same!

    Thank you.

  4. Natasa ~

    I pray that Jason's thought-provoking words will prompt all of us to be more compassionate people. Love is what makes us well—spirit, soul and body. : )

  5. Jennifer ~

    Good one! How quickly a Christian can see 'dirty' when looking at another sinner. We can never get too much time in rivers of living waters, to fill our hearts with the love of compassion.

  6. Jason ~

    It has helped me tremendously in my walk to nail down subtle distinctions such as endurance or perseverance, condemnation or conviction, pity or compassion.

  7. I loved this post the first time I read it. I think I love it even more this time.

    And I'm blushing at my mention. You honor me.

  8. compassion acts while pity sits ...

    such an excellent post

  9. ...i didn't catch this post, Anne. thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  10. btw...i left my usual lengthy response on Jason's journal:)

  11. Snady ~

    I'm glad you enjoyed the repeat. I certainly enjoyed the repeat of your own words. It makes me think of Jesus, Who went deep when He came 2,000 years ago, and Who keeps right on going deep with me, even if I succumb to wallowing.

  12. Susan ~

    You may have captured a key to distinguish the difference between what is worldly and what is of God's Spirit, however manifested: the Spirit is always love in action—even when He bids us to be still.

  13. Bud ~

    Though a number of people read both Jason's and my blogs, I wanted people who missed it there to catch it here, and also repeat the words for their very significance.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment over at Jason's. I'm following comments over there as well.

  14. Pity says the war is over you lost, go home. Compassion says there is no war, there is peace accept it.

  15. T ~

    As Susan captured compassion as active, you've captured that it looks forward rather than back. If it is necessary for sin and suffering of the past to be validated and / or forgiven, doing so makes one truly free to move forward. I once read a novel MS that captured the concept beautifully ...

  16. Oh! This is excellent! And so true. And if I dare to say so, this is why I'm a political conservative and not a liberal...liberalism tends to sort folks into classes and assign 'disenfranchisements', whereas conservatism believes deeply in the individual. NO political system of this world is perfect; none can come close to the Kingdom of God. But in this imperfect world, I chose to think people capable rather than not.

    May God bless you richly today, Anne!

  17. Gwen ~

    How refreshing to hear, from someone who daily deals with people en masse, the recognition of the individual. I know few people who minister to so many individuals in a single week. God has given you a special gift, and you are glorifying Him in how you use it. : )


Your comments are appreciated and you can expect a reply. If Blogger doesn't accept your comment, or if you prefer
another method, I hope you'll respond via Twitter or email
(see sidebar icons or the "Contact Me" tab, above).

(Comments to older posts and will appear after approval.)