Here’s the buzz from the small groups week 8:
We considered the wonderful Biblical passages on “Compassion”, and reflected on examples of Christian compassion we have seen. Notable among them is what we have seen in the lives of Ed and Judy Adams.
Compassion – a chapter that was short and simple, but also very difficult.
Our group strongly agreed with this chapter’s Key Idea: “I believe God calls all Christians to show compassion to people in need.” We also quickly acknowledged that in biblical times the church (universal – the body of Christian believers) was not only charged to show compassion but was the main body to do so. Times have changed. Since the 1960’s, the US government has produced a “welfare state strata” of people who may, or may not, actually be “in need”. “Compassion”, we discussed, involves attending to social, spiritual, moral and physical needs. A dichotomy now exists. The Christian church is being removed from the government, the government is throwing money at physical needs – and it becomes more difficult (while more necessary) to display compassion toward spiritual, moral and social needs. This brings more of an onus on Christians to show compassion in our everyday lives.
We can show compassion to physical needs by giving of our time and talents (usually on a local basis), or by giving of our discretionary income. When giving money, the church and the Salvation Army are recognized as the charities with the lowest overhead and the greatest per cent of donations actually reaching the intended audience.
We can show compassion to social, spiritual and moral needs through prayer and through engagement. We can volunteer for local mission projects. We can simply greet everyone we meet with a smile and a friendly “hello”. We can be receptive to those we encounter on a daily basis who may be in need of some compassion – even if only for a short time. If we open our eyes, opportunities exist everywhere. We need to engage those opportunities.
We discussed compassion and the pros and cons that come with demonstrating it. We talked about how it seems easier to show compassion in a situation where the other person/people seem to be doing what they are able to do also. We feel that sometimes there is a fine line between compassion and enabling and that can be difficult to discern the difference.
We talked about how showing compassion can be hard in a situation that just seems totally overwhelming and feeling that any effort on our part would not even put a dent in the problem (poverty, homelessness, hunger). However, this is what Jesus calls us to do and we need to realize that all of our efforts make a difference to Him.
“The king will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ The Lord calls us to serve with compassion (Matt. 25:40). And…he calls us to do that with humility! Many times we have to put aside our fears and “do” compassion, rather than just talk about it.
Enjoy Carrie Underwood’s song “Change” set to photos from Compassion International. Powerful!