Deep Sensitvity to Others

“Deep sensitivity to the suffering of those in need comes from our ability to put ourselves in their position, and from remembering our own experiences of vulnerability¬† and dependence. This sense of shared human experience extends even to those most foreign to us. Calvin wrote that when seeing a poor person, we should think ‘now I have been in that condition and certainly wanted to be helped; indeed it seemed to me that people ought to have pitied me in order to help me’:

But what [is the usual case]? When we are comfortable, it is not a matter of our remembering our human poverty, rather we imagine that we are exempt from that and that we are no longer part of the common class. And that is the reason why we forget , and no longer have any compassion for our neighbors or for all that they endure.

~ from the book Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine Pohl

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