Jesus’ compassion is characterized by a downward pull. That is what disturbs us. We cannot think about ourselves in terms other than those of an upward pull, an upward mobility in which we strive for better lives, higher salaries, and more prestigious positions. Thus, we are deeply disturbed by a God who embodies a downward movement. Instead of striving for a higher position, more power and more influence, Jesus moves, as Karl Barth says, from “the heights to the depth, from victory to defeat, from riches to poverty, from triumph to suffering, from life to death.”
… Compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there… God’s compassion … is the compassion of the one who keeps going to the most forgotten corners of the world, and who cannot rest as long as there are still human beings with tears in their eyes.
Compassion, Nouwen et al, pp24-5