Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

I’m not talking about the sickeningly sweet couple who giggles at eachother and licks whipped cream off of eachother’s noses, or the couple who can’t keep their hands out of eachother’s back pockets nor tongues out of eachother’s throats.

Although I could–because they have a lot to show us about love too…. so maybe I’ll take a mental not of that.

but I’m talking about the kind of love that is legitimately kind.  that isn’t proud, rude, self-seeking, doesn’t keep records of wrongs, protects, HOPES, and trusts, doesn’t judge and isn’t easily angered.

The kind that I saw demonstrated the other day.

The kind that sees someone begging for money, and gives what money he has on him.  In the meantime, drivers in neighbouring cars literally turned up their noses in disgust that he had given money to this vagrant who, “probably only wanted the money for drugs or booze anyways”

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Indeed–your choice to love this homeless person in a simple way offended those around you.  But you didn’t just give him the change you had on you–you asked how he was doing today, and if there was anything more he wanted that you could help him with.

And now that I’m telling the world about what you did, there will be myriads more who are offended by your choice to love.  There will be those who believe he was underserving of your life, because “he must have brought it on himself”  (see my recent post on mercy)
There will be those who have a passion for social justice who see your actions as well-intentioned, but misguided and thus enabling him and worsening the societal problems at large.  
There will be those who are not at all passionate about social justice, but have simply rationalized their choice to look the other way by telling themselves that anything they give any homeless person will just be used for drugs and booze.

But the reality is– you gave because you see a human being who has been hurt and broken enough by life to stand in the cold and in the rain and beg for the mercy of humanity to sustain you.

and yeah… maybe he was on drugs.  maybe he was ‘jonesing’  maybe he was collecting money for another hit, or another bottle.  and maybe the money you gave him will be what it takes for him to get another drink that will numb the pain enough for him to be able to bear the demons that first drove him to drink in the first place.  

and maybe the money will buy a loaf of bread and he’ll bring it home to his children.

Or maybe it will help him to buy bus fare to get to his brother’s house a few cities away…

but at the end of the day….
We don’t know, and it’s not ours to judge.  In that moment, when you don’t have the time to do much more, you had a choice.  You could either ignore him entirely, or demonstrate Christ’s love for him– a love that meets each of us where we are at–and doesn’t demand change first, but loves *first*.

I’m not going to pretend that enabling isn’t a real thing–of course, it is…  But I’m saying that the choice to love with no strings attached is very Christlike… and very countercultural– it takes humility, and courage, and compassion.  And I loved seeing you make that choice.  I love your kindness.

Is this the final solution to homelessness and poverty in our society?  of course not!  There is a great deal more needed!  and I know you probably know that.  
But this post isn’t about homelessness, or social justice programs, or the alternatives to “handouts”.  Those are all important things too.

But you saw a person whose dignity has been all but entirely lost–however that may have come to be, and you have given them what you had–kindness-the dignity of looking into their eyes–talking to them, and the dignity of trusting them to spend the money you hand out to them how they see fit.

Your love and compassion is beautiful.

And what you may not have had the opportunity to see is that a driver behind you rolled her eyes at you.  Then her son in the backseat pointed at you and presumably asked what was going on… and then she drummed her fingers on her steering wheel for a moment–and then reached out and offered the individual something as well.

Your love and compassion was infectious.  Your love and compassion inspired a disposition of kindness and grace in another.

May you find yourself loved and extended kindness to you when you most need it, and may love and compassion overflow into your life!

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Mercy

Posted: February 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“what goes around comes around”

“he brought this on himself”

etc.

The other day I was having a conversation with God, and I caught myself–or rather He pointed out– MULTIPLE times, defining God with human parametres.  It started out simply enough.  I was praying for someone whose illness could be considered a result of their own choices.  I was praying from a place of sincerity and earnest desire, and suddenly I started interrupting myself and cutting God off.  

Have you ever done that?  When you’re making a request of someone that you know might be a “stretch” you just start qualifying and pre-emptively defending what would give you the audacity to ask in the first place, lest they reject your request and or exclaim about your gall?

So I basically started doing that.  “I know they maybe brought this on themselves etc etc… but”

And right there, in that statement God showed me the limited view of Him I was demonstrating.

first of all, who suggested that this request was a ‘stretch’ !?  that I should need to cut Him off and start defending my request!?  

To Whom am I praying, after all!?  that this request might be too big for Him!?  seriously?  

by the way, God was a lot more gentle–I’m just a little appalled at myself!

second, the mindset I was in, I was suggesting not that some kind of justice needed to play out, but that God, perhaps, wasn’t interested on ‘wasting’ a miracle on someone who may have ‘earned’ their illness.

Where did the notion come from that God’s miracles come in limited supply?!?  That He’s not going to dole out healing or the miraculous lest it be ‘wasted’!?   Mercy is infinite!  He WANTS us to swim in His mercy!  that doesn’t mean that there isn’t more going on behind the scenes that may necessitate different responses than swift and miraculous mercy, but the idea that God has some kind of ‘miracle quota’ is a little bit preposterous.  or a lot of bit.

But finally–and this is the one that I’ve really been meditating on…  was simply this.  What human EVER has the right to suggest that suffering, disease, death, pain, sorrow, loss, agony, of any kind is deserved by another for having ‘brought it on themselves’!?  
What human is exempt from complicity in the broken condition under which we all suffer!?

in other words…

Who *HASN’T* ‘brought it on themselves’ !?

All these little things we say about people bringing it on themselves and ‘kharma’s a b*tch’ and ‘what goes around comes around’ etc etc are all excused we find to guard our hearts from feeling, [gasp] empathy!  

Yes, it’s true that there is cause and effect.  and all of our actions–whether we recognize it or not–have effects.  And the fact that 100% of humanity is complicit in the suffering and death and agony of the broken condition is by no means an excuse to then live frivolously and “sin more that grace may increase” *, but instead, is a recognition that should spur us into compassion.

The reality that ‘this person’s actions’ are more obvious to us as having a cause and effect relationship with his or her suffering does not negate the reality that without God’s grace, the suffering we see in “this person” and much more would be ours as well.
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^pictured above-an artists rendering of Job 42:1-6^

you see…
the idea that anyone deserves ‘their suffering’ and ‘we’ don’t—because we haven’t taken the same actions as they have or whatnot… it complete rubbish.  There’s no place for justifying passivity and inaction with self-righteousness.  

Without the provisional grace of God Every. Single. Moment….  our lives–by our own making, would be nothing but chaos and ruin, isolation, loneliness, disease, famine, death, and destruction.  It is what we all “deserve”.

So since we’re all–every one of us–swimming in mercy, I am invited to “approach the throne of grace with confidence” ** and plead for His mercy on every one of His creation.  I am called to have compassion recognizing that we are all alike in our broken need of Him. 

And I am called to gratitude for every breath that I take—and the recognition that “every good and perfect gift” is from Him. ***

*Romans 6:1
**Hebrews 4:16
***James 1:17