Search This Blog

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Compassion Cannot Be Regulated

There are a lot of people hurting during these turbulent economic times. Many people have seen their savings dwindle to nothing as the stock market continues to fall. Many have seen their A.R.M.'s ask for a LEG too. It is hard to sort out which people are hurting because of the bad economy and those who have simply been irresponsible.

All the people who boarded the Titanic nearly a century ago believed it would reach America. It was the ship's maiden voyage. It was advertised as unsinkable. No one predicted the ship would hit an ice berg and sink a few days later. Many of these people lost their lives. None of the passengers were irresponsible. Those in charge should have paid attention to the reports of ice bergs. They went forward in their "unsinkable" ship.

Church emphasizes the need for compassion for those who are hurting. We should do what we can to help people through tough times. We cannot and should not enable people to continue to make bad decisions. There is no compassion in co-dependency. We relieve ourselves of guilt at the expense of keeping people in a bad situation.

We encourage compassion but cannot force it. We encourage people to help one another but we cannot force that either. That is something that must come from the heart no matter how dire the situation.

Compassion is all but lost when a person's benevolence is exploited. The Bible says that the person who does not work should not eat. In other words, if you refuse to work we will refuse to give you food. That seems hard but it is best for any society. Freeloaders must suffer the consequences of their own actions.

Years ago I served a church in Houston. One of my deacons was approached by a man who claimed a close relative had died and he needed money for a bus ticket to get to the funeral. This deacon gave him the money he needed. A couple of weeks later this same deacon was doing a job on the other side of Houston and had the same man tell him the same story. The deacon did not respond with compassion this time. The freeloader was lucky to leave with all his teeth.

Many times government seems to help people when it actually hurts them. It seems to be helping many people who are hurting financially. Often, those people have made bad decisions and the government is helping them through what appears to be a tough time. The tough times never seem to end for these people because they continue to freeload on the system. The government takes from those who have worked hard and gives to those who won't work.

The government continues to make lots of noise about the compassion we need to have for those who are hurting. Government is like a baby. It makes a lot of noise on one end and has no responsibility on the other! Compassion cannot be regulated. It is always an act of one who makes a personal contact or has personal knowledge of the pain of another. You start with a need and respond with compassion.

I encourage people to be compassionate toward others. Our church feeds over a hundred people each week. We try to get to know their situation and meet the need of hunger. We have decided that many other needs are beyond our abilities. We do not pay rent or utilities because we can feed so many more people a week at a time than just the few that we could help otherwise.

I am proud that our church helps people. We do so because we have a compassion for others which resides in our hearts. I believe it is Christ within us that makes the difference. It cannot be regulated. It comes from within.

No comments: