Authentic Compassion

Authentic Compassion

Man on the street in South Africa by Mike@The Warming House

There are a lot of ideas circulating these days about who’s compassionate and who is not  – especially on the American political scene. Politicians paint one party as being more compassionate while another is painted as being colder and more uncaring. 

When I see so many college-aged men and women leaning toward a particular party’s candidate, I often wonder if it has anything to do with their perception of that party’s compassion. 

So here’s the deal. I’m really well-acquainted with compassion.  I’ve experienced God’s compassion poured out on me.

As a former Director of Sending Ministries, God compelled me to rally people together to practice roll-your-sleeves-up, hands-on compassion in and through the local church. In that position, I watched God transform our church as he reshaped hearts and mobilized people in sacrificial acts of compassion.

I’ve also studied compassion at length and am currently writing a book on it. So when I hear all this rhetoric, it really bothers me.

Here’s a little reality for you. While working in the trenches with the underprivileged, I witnessed true and desperate need. But I also met many able-bodied people whose life mission and career goal was to convince our government they had a “disability” so they could receive a regular disability check.

Here’s something I’ve learned about authentic compassion. Maybe this will help you as you demonstrate it in your life.

Authentic compassion does not make people dependent on systems, organizations, ministries, or governments. Period.

  • There is a time and place for emergency assistance and even long-term care (i.e., orphans), but authentic compassion never desires to make that assistance a permanent lifestyle – because it imprisons people in dependency.
  • Authentic compassion is proactive.
  • It always desires to build people up and make them stronger.
  • It sees the potential in every person.
  • It honors the value and dignity of each person.
  • It seeks the best for that person.
  • It seeks to move individuals toward their fullest potential and the fulfillment that comes from living out their God-given purpose on this earth.
  • It allows people to realize the deep satisfaction that comes from a day of hard work.
  • It never limits, enables, or makes people dependent. It empowers.

When I was in my early twenties I voted Democrat based solely on the fact that I felt they were the “kinder” party. My experiences leading ministries of compassion have given me a different perspective.

Obama recently gutted 1996 bi-partisan welfare reform, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which ended welfare as an entitlement. Under Bill Clinton’s administration welfare reform focused on a return to work and self-sufficiency. Welfare support was directly tied to return-to-work requirements. Safequards were put in place to protect these requirements from being waived by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Obama once again put himself above the law with yet another executive order dismissing these requirements. He opened the door for welfare recipients to receive benefits without any expectation that they return to work. He rewrote the law without the approval of Congress. “Not only is that an abuse of executive power, it results in more social policy that promotes government dependence instead of self-sufficiency.” (Say Anything Blog)

Let’s stop allowing politicians to define compassion. The view becomes extremely distorted when the only aim is self-serving re-election based on creating a sense of dependency among the people. 

So how about wrapping our minds around authentic compassion?

What are your thoughts and comments? 

Please circulate and share this post if you want to set the record straight and rally people toward authentic compassion in our world today.



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