The True Nature of Compassion [Podcast]

Have you ever had an experience where you tried to do something good for someone else but ended up feeling worse? Ever felt empathy towards someone in such a way that it hurt? Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Wrecked Sessions

True compassion doesn’t leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. True compassion breaks your heart and leaves you feeling helpless. And the reason for this is because true compassion requires you to step outside of yourself.

This week, we return to Wrecked Sessions (a limited-time podcast I’m doing to continue conversation around my book, Wrecked). In this episode, we interview my friend and colleague Talia Bunting and talk about how messy helping others can be.

Listen to the podcast


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About our guest

Talia and I worked together for a number of years at Adventures in Missions, but we originally met on a mission trip to Mexico many years ago. Together on that trip, we experienced a “wrecked” moment when we met a homeless woman on the streets of Palenque, Mexico.

This woman was clearly mentally disabled — she kept talking about her mustache and couldn’t remember her name. We tried to offer her water and bread, but she wouldn’t take any of it. We prayed for it and walked away. And as we did, our hearts broke.

Only a few steps away from the Nameless Woman, Talia broke down and started crying, saying, “I feel so helpless!”

In this episode, we explore with our guest the pain we all feel when we have to walk away from a need we aren’t able to meet — and how sometimes, that’s just the beginning of the story.

Show highlights

In this podcast, we talk about:

  • Why doing good often feels bad
  • The stupidity of the cliche, “plant a seed”
  • When we feel helpless to do anything for someone else (and what to do about it)
  • The messiness of ministry and how sometimes our only choice is to walk away from needs
  • How our guest learned more about compassion by working in a bar than she ever did in the mission field

Get involved

If you liked this podcast, here are some other ways to get involved:

Have you ever experience true compassion? Have you ever felt helpless to meet someone else’s needs? Share your story in the comments.