What if we were compassionate toward one another?

April 27, 2023

“He is a man without love.”

That was how a friend referred to a well-known public figure in America today. My friend was actually repeating what he was told by someone who knows this public figure well. This man-without-love is a very successful leader with an enormous amount of influence. Apparently, though, he has no compassion, and everybody knows it.

That phrase “a man without love” shook me. I instantly was gripped with anxiety wondering if I might be perceived similarly. Are there people out there who would call me cold? Unfeeling? Insensitive? Maybe it’s good to worry about that, because what if you were a person without love and it didn’t bother you?

In contrast to this cold-hearted dude, there is Stephanie Palich. Just last week I attended her memorial service. Cancer took her way too early. She died at age 40 leaving behind her husband and five young girls. It was tragic and heartbreaking, but I wish you could have heard the eulogies. I’ve officiated and attended more memorial services than I can count, but this one took my breath away. In tears I sat listening to friend after friend after family member describe the compassion and love that drove this young woman. To know her was to receive her love and care. I can attest to this myself. She was extraordinary in compassion.

The man-without-love will continue to flex his influence muscles and get a lot of attention doing it. Steph never made the news, but the legacy she has left will dwarf his all day long.

Do you want to be powerful or compassionate? Can you be both?


  1. Michelle Williams

    The answer to your first question is no! I don’t know who could spend their life doing what you’ve done without caring about people.

    I think the answer to your last question is a difficult yes. Nelson Mandela comes to mind. He was compassionate and also accessed a seat of power, only after suffering a great deal and witnessing suffering among the people he served. People usually don’t “want” to come by their power that way, and the majority are likely unwilling to do it. But, like Stephanie, his compassion led to his powerful legacy.

    • Dave Rodriguez

      Thank you Michelle! Great illustration of compassion combined with power! I agree Mandela’s union of love and power was born out of his suffering which was both personal and communal. Now you got me thinking of other people who model that!


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