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The Difference Between Compassion and Justice

Covenant Discipleship is disciple-shaping process that offers children the opportunity to use their experiences in school, in church, at home, and in the community, discovering ways to “love God and neighbor” through specific acts. Covenant Discipleship forms a rule of life for all of us, especially for our children. The best definition of a rule of life comes from Marjorie Thompson, author of Soul Feast:

“A rule of life is a pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. . . . It fosters gifts of the Spirit in personal life and human community, helping to form us into the persons God intends us to be” (Westminster John Knox, 1995, p. 138).

As Christians, we are called to do Acts of Compassion and Acts of Justice, but sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between them. Compassion is showing kindness for another person. Justice is an action that creates a change that makes things fairer in our community or world.

Acts of Compassion Acts of Justice
Befriend someone who is being bullied. Start an anti-bullying campaign at your school or in your community.
Serve meals in a feeding ministry. Simulate a hunger experience; then raise funds and participate in a CROP Hunger Walk.
Clean out weeds or plant flowers at the church or an older member's house. Learn about earth care. Create a ministry that leads the congregation to recylce, reuse, and reduce.
Pack lunches for the homeless. Learn how your community is addressing homelessness and educate your congregation. Explore how you or your congregation will assist in alleviating homelessness.
Visit an animal shelter and help care for the animals. Learn about humane treatment of animals. Work with church staff to offer a "Blessing of the Animals" service, and include a time to share what you discovered.
Befriend someone who comes from a different culture. Write a letter to your congressperson about an issue of discrimination.
Tell a responsible adult if you know someone is being abused. Participate in a walk that brings attention to the abuse of children.

Growing Everyday Disciples: Covenant Discipleship with Children is available at the Upper Room online book store. Order a copy today.

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