Jesus’ compassion is characterized by a downward pull. That is what disturbs us. We cannot even 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.” Jesus’ whole life and mission involve accepting powerlessness and revealing in this powerlessness the limitlessness of God’s love.
(From Compassion by Henri Nouwen, et. al.)