Sunday, March 20, 2011

Compassion? Or a Savior Complex?

In light of all that's happening in Japan, I'm going to run this post again. After reading certain blog posts by mega-compassionate people, I needed this reminder for myself.


I hope I can explain things clearly in this post. Hmm. We shall see.

I once knew a Christian man who 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 in a way. 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 simultaneously.

If you've read here very long you know I'm a big proponent of balance. And in everything there is balance. And there are seasons for everything, too. 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. It also says His joy is our strength.

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 begin looking forward to their being answered. To you, it will only be a matter of time, and in the meantime, you can hold onto that anticipation that God will come through with awesome answers.

And that is what matters most--that I believe God will 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 everybody 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 callings, giftings. We each have a necessary piece in this huge puzzle and 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 will enable us to complete it. It will get done--and it will not send us to lying prostrate on a couch, hopeless, overwhelmed. God isn't mean like that. He doesn't ask us to do something, but then skip town when we begin the task. Always, He sends Grace along to help us, always God, Himself, never leaves our side.

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.

If we obey God's (usually simple) requests, He'll give us the joy of obedience which then becomes additional strength to do and complete more and more of His will, as well as great anticipation of all the prayers He'll be answering on our way further down the road.


"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." ... Matthew 11:29


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


"The joy of the Lord is your strength." ... Neh. 8:10


Odie Langley said...

That was quite a piece you wrote Debra and i full agree. I really feel sorry for miserable people who think the world is supposed to be on their shoulders. Sure I feel compassion for the people of Japan, New Zealand, etc and prayers go forth but I don't let it destroy me either. Balance is really important and we just have to trust God to equip us for whatever he wants up to do.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Well said, Debra....I completely agree with this. We do need balance. We can't let our emotional selves become so overwhelmed that we cannot help anyone, not even ourselves. That's certainly not what God wants of anyone.

I am so glad you're back blogging which I just discovered yesterday......Your posts do speak to me loudly and clearly.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers, and hoping you will pray for me, too.