...For compassion means to build a bridge to others without knowing whether they want to be reached. Your brother or sister might be so embittered that he or she doesn't expect anything from you. Then your compassion stirs up emnity, and it is difficult not to become sour yourself and say, "You see what I told you, it doesn't work anyhow."
And yet, compassion is possible when it is rooted in prayer. For in prayer, you do not depend upon your own strength or on the good will of another, but only upon your trust in God. That is why prayer makes you free to live a compassionate life even when it does not evoke a grateful response or bring immediate reward.
With Open Hands (Henri J M Nouwen)