Being Compassionate

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Being compassionate is another great work of our Heavenly Father and a fundamental characteristic of who we are as a people. We are commanded to "succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees." Disciples of Christ throughout all ages of the world have been distinguished by their compassion. Those who follow the Savior "mourn with those that mourn ... and comfort those that stand in need of comfort." When you reach out to bless the lives of others, your life is blessed as well. Service and sacrifice open the windows of heaven, allowing choice blessings to descend upon you. Surely your beloved Heavenly Father smiles upon those who care for the least of His children.

As you lift others, you rise a little higher yourself. President Spencer W. Kimball taught, "The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls."

President Gordon B. Hinckley believed in the healing power of service. After the death of his wife, he provided a great example to the Church in the way he immersed himself in the work and in serving others. It is told that President Hinckley remarked to one woman who had recently lost her husband, "Work will cure your grief. Serve others."

These are profound words. As you lose yourself in the service of others, you discover your own life and your own happiness.

President Lorenzo Snow expressed a similar thought: "When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated."

In today's world of pop psychology, junk TV, and feel-good self-help manuals, this advice may seem counterintuitive. We are sometimes told that the answer to our ills is to look inward, to indulge ourselves, to spend first and pay later, and to satisfy our own desires even at the expense of those around us. While there are times when it is prudent to look first to our own needs, in the long run it doesn't lead to lasting happiness.

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