I hopped on youtube a little bit ago to find a song someone recommended, and was distracted by the vlogbrothers "PEEPS for Bangladesh" project. I ran across these guys back when Palin was chosen as McCain's running mate. Hank and John are brothers who record videos back and forth to each other, and are often interesting and always amusing. Now, I'm not promoting their project necessarily; I just think John makes a good point about intimacy and empathy, and found the video thought provoking.
Our compassion is nearsighted. Lamentations says the compassion of the Lord never fails. And we're supposed to be compassionate like he is.
Psalm 72:13-14. He will have compassion on the poor and the needy, and the lives of the needy he will save. He will rescue their life from oppression and violence; and their blood will be precious in his sight.
Psalm 139 (very famously) talks about how God is intimately acquainted with people. He knows when we get up and when we lie down, understands out thoughts, and scrutinizes the way we go. Before we speak he knows what we'll say, and he has his hand upon us. Wherever we go, his spirit is there too. If intimacy is linked to empathy, then it's no surprise that his compassion for us is as deep as his understanding.
We're to love our neighbors, including the ones way off in Bangladesh and Africa (ha! you knew I'd mention the continent, didn't you!?), so...we'd best be about getting to know them. Read a book. Make some foreign friends. Follow a blog. Watch a documentary. Go on a service trip. etc.