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The Interview:
Compassion Is The Root of a Story

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word from the Word

Put on a heart of compassion. (Colossians 3:12, AMP)

Wise words from Colossians 3:12 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

A Word for Writers

I had finally connected by phone with the girl I was to interview for a nonprofit agency newsletter article.

And I was on a tight timeline.

After a few perfunctory niceties, I jumped ahead. "Can you tell me what happened to make you reach out for help?" I asked.

I paused and waited for the young teenage mom on the other end of the line to answer. 

Meanwhile I glanced at my calendar. The story was supposed to be the centerpiece of the newsletter, but could I get it done in time? I needed write it and edit it and gather photos and announcements and the rest of the newsletter content - and then run everything through the editorial process, which always meant delays while I worked to get executive staff approvals. 

I tapped my pencil and took a sip of water. Then I heard the young girl take a deep breath.

"Well, I guess it was because I was hungry," she said. "I didn't want to have to sell my body to get food like I did before. I had a baby now. So I looked for help. That's how I found the agency." 

I froze.

Deadlines? Details? In my focus to get the facts to write a good article, I'd forgotten that it's the person behind the facts that matters.

As a writer I have the opportunity to tell stories about how God is working through people. But I had almost missed out on an even great opportunity as a Christ-follower: to show compassion.

Every time I conduct an interview, I have that opportunity. People like telling their story, especially if you show empathy with them. When you ask and then listen, you reflect Jesus.

And for the record, yes. The article was completed on time. In fact, it wrote itself.

A Wise Word 

An interview is an opportunity to show compassion.

A Word to Pray

Loving Father,

Help me reflect your compassion to those I interview. Let me truly care about them and their stories.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

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