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The Path of Compassion
“Compassion wants to make a difference.
The point isn’t just to feel compassion but to be compassionate.”

 -Ronald J. Greer        

Written by seasoned pastoral counselor Ron Greer, The Path of Compassion explores engaging our heartfelt empathy into acts of kindness and in so doing, reclaiming the image of God with its grace and compassion within us.  The book helps persons of faith learn the dynamics of compassion as they grow into their deepest and most caring selves.

It is based on the foundational truths of the scriptures to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” — and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  In three sections, Greer explores the loving compassion of the heart, soul, and mind.

Compassion of the heart involves empathy and loving-kindness in which we seek for others not only to be free of hurt, but to experience lives of meaning and joy.  Next, compassion of the soul is grounded in the awareness of the gift of grace.  Compassion is a response to the grace by which we have been transformed, opening our souls to the sacred dimension of caring.  Then, if that grace is to get meaningful traction in making a difference, compassion of the mind is called on.  We have to act.  We discern the needs to be addressed and decide how best to offer ourselves and the gifts we bring.

This book is about compassion as not just an emotion or an inspiration or an action.  Compassion is all three working together in a beautiful synergy.  This writing is to help us find our paths and become all that we are.


He was a young man in his early thirties—bright, busy, developing his career with loads of potential.  And his grand mother was dying.  She had fought the good fight with cancer through a long and difficult struggle.  The ordeal was nearing its end.

Her grandson flew to Virginia to see her.  It would be their final visit.

Her pain was severe, and her body was now frail.  She always had been a lady of independence and dignity.  Her new reality, with its dependency and indignities, was humbling, if not at times humiliating.  Bone cancer made walking impossible.  She was now reliant on kind hearts and strong arms.

Her joys in life, once abundant, were narrowed to a precious few.  Her heart leaped as one of those few—this handsome young grandson—came into her room.  They embraced and spent the afternoon together talking and laughing.

The next morning she was scheduled for radiation to help reduce the pain.  These would be her final moments in the sunlight, as she would ride the few blocks to the clinic.  An attendant pushed her wheelchair to the driveway.  This lady of dignity would have to be helped even the few steps from the wheelchair to the car.

Her grandson reached down and wrapped his arms around her tiny body.  He lifted her in the air to carry her the short distance.  His eyes brightened, and with a lilt in his voice he said, “Gran… pretend we’re dancing!”

Compassion springs from that Christlike place within every human heart.  Compassion has the spirit of wanting to bring others into the dance.

Ron Greer
From The Path of Compassion 

“For many of us, pastoral counselor Ron Greer has been a wise guide in how to care for those in need in a way that is effective and Christian. In this wonderful book, Ron teaches us how to be more compassionate in a time when that Christian virtue is in short supply among us. The Path of Compassion is a gift."

Bishop William H. Willimon
best-selling author
Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry and former Dean of the Chapel at Duke University Divinity School
United Methodist Bishop (retired)

“Drawing on the rich resources of biblical passages and insights from others, along with personal stories and professional encounters, Greer explores with deep insight the meaning and practice of compassion. He takes the reader through the ways in which heart, soul, and mind intersect to bring compassion to life, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and practically. The Path of Compassion is a significant reflection on a much needed discipline for living in a stressful, complex world

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster
United Methodist Bishop (retired)
Bishop-in-Residence at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta

“Weaving stories, scripture, and substantial theological depth throughout The Path of Compassion, Ron Greer offers nourishment and wisdom to deepen our faith and strengthen our witness to Christ’s presence among us." 

Dr. Jan Love
Mary Lee Hardin Willard Dean, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

“One cannot read a page of The Path of Compassion without at least one ‘Aha’ moment, a profound lesson in etymology, or outright tears of empathy. The volume is beautifully written. As great as Ron’s past works have been, this is his best yet!”

Bill Curry
retired NFL player, head football coach, communicator, educator, motivator, and author


“When your life seems to be coming apart at the seams, you need a wise guide who can skillfully help you pull things back together. I have found Ron Greer to be that wise guide. In The Path of Compassion, Ron shows us how to anchor our lives to scripture’s twin mandates (love God and love neighbor) and find meaning by living a life of compassion. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone willing to explore what it means to truly love with all your heart, soul, and mind.” 

Dr. Bill Britt
Senior Minister, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Atlanta