Good Feelings are Not Enough

by Pastor Pat Siegler

Compassion is not only deep sympathy it is also an action, a way of living, of being and doing. I experienced this at a recent neighborhood meeting regarding homeless people sleeping on our church steps.

It’s not enough to get the good feelings of allowing people without homes to sleep under the cover of an awning or carport. Compassion is about the person; about the relationship.

The question becomes, how can the church and the neighborhood actively engage in caring for the homeless population? It is vital that we combine our deep sympathy with deep action for our neighbors in the world.

There won’t be any quick solutions to homelessness in our society. Perhaps by practicing loving-kindness and compassion with our neighbors, both homed and homeless, we can find resources and care for the people and places most in need.

Pat Siegler is the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Madison, WI, a grace and love centered church where your hand is shaken at least six times when you come. He is also a member of the Christine Center’s committee on Compassion and the Spiritual Deepening Program.

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