Monday, July 05, 2010

Compassion? Or A Savior Complex?

A Christian man I know said he had so much compassion for the poor, hopeless people of this world that it made him sad, like, all the time. He cried for poor, lonely people, prayed for them, of course, too. And over time I watched him become, well, paralyzed. He felt so sad, so much 'compassion,' that he became overwhelmed and could think of little else besides how vast numbers of people are being mistreated and having hard lives. He became mad at Christians who didn't do enough and at his own limitations and ended up helping no one.

Another Christian, a woman author, says she feels great compassion for single mothers having rough times and teens, too, who are wandering so far from God. She often comes across these people, and unlike the man above, at least she gives to them what God nudges her to give, be it money or gifts or just the right words they need to hear. So that's wonderful, but she always feels it's never enough. And the majority of her years she's spent in sadness--if she's not grieving emotionally for herself, she's grieving for/with others in trouble. Usually both.

In everything, there is balance, as well as seasons. A time to weep with those who weep--yes! But that season is not 24/7 all the days of our lives, for the Bible also adds there's a time to rejoice and dance and praise God with joyful songs and to see good days.

True, godly hope--I think that's what may be missing in the hearts of those sad, 24/7 weepy Christians who say they're just extra compassionate. I mean, godly hope is full of anticipation! Pray some prayers with godly hope and you'll look forward to their being answered. To you, it's just a matter of time and--in the meantime--you can hold onto that anticipation that God will come through.

And that is what matters most--that I believe God will come through and save the day, heal the hurt, become the friend who sticks closer than a brother. Not that I rush around, by myself, trying to save the day and be the all in all for the whole silly Planet. Uh, no. (That may sound funny, but I've known people who believe they are called to do that.)

No, I cannot help every single poor, downcast person in this world, but then, God would never ask one person to do so! (Personally, I don't believe He'd put the burden of the whole world upon one single heart, either.) We all have different callings, we  are each a necessary piece in this huge puzzle. 

What remains is for each of us to do his/her own small part in meeting those needs, so that in turn, all needs will be met.

And if God asks us to do a thing? He'll enable us to complete it. It will get done without leaving us prostrate, exhausted upon a couch, helpless. God isn't mean like that. Always, God sends Grace along to help lift and encourage us.

If He's asking us to help three people, then He'll equip us to help three people. But we're being foolish if we allow ourselves to throw up our hands, to become paralyzed because we're unable to help three million souls, instead. Or the whole neighborhood, the entire town or the complete county.

With obedience, comes joy, which then becomes our strength to complete any task in season or out. And always, God is enough. 


The goal is never that we become anyone's everything. That goal is God's, alone.

"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him." ... Habrews 11:6


Beth said...

I think it is so easy to be overwhelmed with all the neediness in this world. I see so much in my work, I see where and how these people live. I see so much they need and I know that resources, at least in my state, are so limited. And believe it or not, so many of these people are truly so full of godly faith! There are days I come home from work very heavy-hearted and burdened.

But you are right, there needs to be balance. I know I am inadequately equipped to meet all the needs I see daily. But I can do what I can, pray always, and allow others to meet needs that I can't. And I am thankful for my health and stability at home.

We are called to be light and salt, there is only one Savior. I'm not making much sense, but I just wanted to say that your attitude of balance is right.

Donetta said...

The old bloom where your planted and don't toss the seeds on the rocks unless that is where they need to grow. We have the seed sometimes but were not the master gardener of it all.

There is a time for everything under the heavens a time to give a time to withhold. A time to reach out and a time to pull away.
a time to weep and a time to rejoice.

I have seen many things and it is always that those with no balance topple end over end, it is inevitable.

We weep with those who weep but it is also for us to rejoice with those who rejoice.

Rodney Olsen said...

Another wonderful, well though out post.

We will always feel that we are inadequate for the task, and indeed we are.

God is the only one who can keep the whole picture in mind. We're only called to play our part, the part God gives us, through the strength that he supplies.

Pat said...

Living a well balanced life actually removes guilt. The post was so well really puts life into the right perspective.
Beautifully written my friend!

Barbara said...

I agree with the other comments Debra. Very good points made. I feel sad for all the needy too, but I'm still determined to celebrate and enjoy the happiness in my life. I don't have a lot of money and my health is such that I am disabled. So I can't do much in big ways to help others. But we can all do something. For example I believe that an encouraging word is needed and enjoyed by all, and we can richly give those. My husband and I regularly visit a relative in a nursing home where we see an elderly lady who is there every day all day long trying to help care for her husband. Also a 90 year old man is there every day to be with and help his wife. This has gone on for years and must be so very difficult and sad for them. I can do nothing to improve their circumstances but I always try to have a friendly chat, compliment the lady on her kindness and how nicely she dresses, etc. Last week we brought each of them a small bag of our homegrown tomatoes.
All this is just to say that I believe that encouragement is a great thing we can all give with just a smile,a small token, or a kind word.
I thank you so much for your blog Debra, I look forward to it every day and it's an encouragement for me!

Judy said...


(see? i'm still here!)

Debra said...

A special thanks to each of you for your kind words. I'm relieved that you got what I was trying to say--I was concerned that someone would think I was just saying 'away with compassion!' But what I meant was 'away with being paralyzed by compassion!' :)

And yes, Judy, I see you. :) Thanks for letting me know you're still hanging around this place!

Thanks again, All.... Debra