Often in a tense confrontation a person will say “Give me some slack!” The phrase is actually hundreds of years old. Tying a ship to a pier was no easy feat and took two teams of men armed with mooring lines. As one line was pulled to haul the ship closer the other line the other line was released or ‘given slack’. The process would go on until the ship was properly aligned. In common usage it means, “Give me a chance to fix this situation.” How often do we consider the need we all have to be given some slack? It is so easy to let relationships break down before there is time for an honest exchange in which each person cuts the other some slack. Compassion does not require winners and losers. It allows some space for things to be properly aligned.
Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.
St. Francis de Sales
In your encounters with other people remember that each of us sometimes needs to be given a little slack. Try to develop this attitude.
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.
Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.
If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
Francis of Assisi
We can learn the art of fierce compassion – redefining strength, deconstructing isolation and renewing a sense of community, practicing letting go of rigid us-vs.-them thinking – while cultivating power and clarity in response to difficult situations.
A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.
Abraham J. Heschel
Make no judgments where you have no compassion.
The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.
Arthur H. Stainback
It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others.
Compassion is a two way street.