What does Compassion mean?

The meaning of compassion is to recognize the suffering of others, then take action to help. The meaning of compassion can be expressed in many ways.

  • Author Fredrick Buechner describes the meaning of compassion in these words: “Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”
  • U2 lead singer Bono explains that the meaning of compassion for Christians is to focus on those in need. “To me, a faith in Jesus Christ that is not aligned with the poor ... it’s nothing.”
  • The Bible defines the meaning of compassion in several ways. We are to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves ... defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV). We do this by taking action instead of just talking about helping others: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18, NIV).
  • Christian recording artist Jeremy Camp explains how you can be the meaning of compassion to a child in poverty. “There are so many kids around the world in need! Through Compassion sponsorship, you can meet not only the basic needs of a child, but you can give a child hope ... most important, you can introduce that child to eternal hope through Jesus.”
Everett Swanson holding a Korean orphan

Early on, Everett Swanson recognized the importance of giving individual attention to the neglected children he met on the streets of Korea.


The Meaning of Compassion Is Demonstrated by Compassion International

This life-changing organization releases children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Compassion International began in 1952 when the Rev. Everett Swanson began providing Korean War orphans with food, shelter, education and health care as well as Christian training.

Today, Compassion has grown into a world-leading ministry for holistic child development. You can discover the meaning of compassion by sponsoring a child with Compassion International. See how your true compassion can save lives and rescue those in need.

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If you prefer to speak with a Compassion representative on the phone, please call us at (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT.

Please call us at (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT to speak with a Compassion Representative.

Meaning of Compassion

Compassion is a characteristic that was integral to Jesus’ life. But do you know the true meaning of compassion? It might be different than what you’ve heard before. It’s so much more than simply feelings of empathy or care. Based on the Latin roots of the word, the meaning of compassion is to “suffer with.”

Every day, millions of children in poverty around the world experience the meaning of compassion as they participate in Compassion International’s child development centers. At the center, they receive health care, food and clean water, learn income-generating skills, and most importantly hear the Gospel and have the opportunity to give their lives to Christ.

When you sponsor a child, you share the meaning of compassion with a child in need. Through your prayers, money and letters, you show him or her how valuable he or she is and how much God loves him or her.

Do you live your life to emulate Christ? Will you consider showing a child in poverty the true meaning of compassion by becoming a sponsor?

Compassion Meaning, Definition, and Quotes – Compassion International