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.

Lisa~

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Rush Week and Why You’re Good Enough

Rush Week

Last August I helped my kids get settled at college. I’ll never forget what I saw one night as I drove through sorority row. Rush week rush hour! Throngs of girls in trendy dresses, killer shoes, perfect hair and makeup streamed up and down the street.

As I watched them walking from house to house, I felt really sad. They were trying so hard to stand out and measure up to each sorority’s standards, yet so many would be rejected. Lots of them would end up feeling like they weren’t good enough and wonder what was wrong with them. That’s a crime because there isn’t a darn thing wrong with any of them. They were all so precious as they paraded up and down the street.

Last Sunday, our pastor talked about the universal fear of rejection we all have – and our need for approval. He explained that this stems from the fact that we all subconsciously know we fall short of the glory of our Creator. We know we’ve sinned.

We need acceptance. God’s acceptance is the solution to our fear of rejection. His acceptance is the only acceptance that really matters.

Our amazing God accepts us wholeheartedly, completely, and permanently when we recognize our shortcomings, repent, and put our faith in Christ.

We don’t have to wear the right clothes or shoes. We don’t have to do our hair and make-up perfectly. Honestly, there’s nothing we can do to make ourselves acceptable by God’s standards – and God doesn’t want us to even try. Whew! What a relief!

If God’s acceptance depended on our efforts, we would be in serious trouble. Because it depends on Christ, we are saved. Christ makes us acceptable.

So why do we chase after the acceptance of the people around us? Why do we crave the approval of a world whose acceptance is shallow, unreliable, and temporary?

As I drove carefully along the road that night, I felt Christ’s presence inside of me – like he was looking at those girls through my eyes. I felt his heart grieving as he watched them wear themselves out chasing after the world’s approval when they already had his.

He loves each one of them so deeply. He sees each one as extraordinarily beautiful. He gave everything he had to rescue them.

Not one of them has to measure up in his eyes. He wants them – and us – to recognize our significance and value to him. Those girls all have his heart. And so do you.

Remember that as you get caught up in the flurry of rush week.

In your life, whose acceptance has been the most important to you?

Loving you all . . .

Mama B

There is Always Hope

Light in the night (Castelldefels)

Well – there was another shooting yesterday. This time in College Station as students were starting to filter back to the area for rush week. One of the victims was the mother of our daughter’s close friend.

Both of my college-age kids were so disheartened yesterday. They both commented on how crazy this world has become – and how there is so much evil in it. Each of them said they can’t wait for Jesus to come back – and they hope it will be very soon.

This truly is a troubled world. But God is still in control. Remember the story of Esther? Haman – the enemy of the Jews – devised a plan to annihilate all the Jews because of his toxic pride. He even planned to profit from their destruction by taking their property after he murdered them.

Do you remember how the Jewish people grieved and mourned when they learned of his plan? Everything seemed hopeless. And what did God do? He was behind the scenes working diligently to protect and preserve his people. He had made a promise and he was going to keep it. The Messiah would come from Jewish lineage. So God put Esther in a royal position, turned the tables, eliminated Haman, and saved his people.

Let me remind you today that there is hope. God is still behind the scenes working out his plan for you, me, and all of mankind. Christ will return a second time. (Revelation 19:6-7) He came first to save and rescue sinners – not to condemn. (John 3:17; Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10) He will return to judge/punish evil (Jude 1:14-15; 1 Peter 4:5; 1 Corinthians 4:5) and rule as King. (Matthew 25:31; Philippians 2:10-11) Yay! Those who have put their trust in him will be safe because he has already endured their punishment for them. (1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:10; Romans 8:1) He is our hope.

Let me also remind you that God is still working in you! He has specifically placed you (with your unique quirks, characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses) in this tumultuous world for such a time as this. You and your generation give me hope for the future. God believes in you and has great faith in your potential to make things different. So do I. Never forget that!

If you feel an angst within you and want to do something in response to all the evil around you, consider what God tells us in Romans 12:21

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” 

Overcoming evil with good is God’s way of doing things. Acts of love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and generosity are all “good.” For every evil thing you’ve seen lately do one good thing for someone else. 

You and your generation can ultimately bring hope and change to this world by living your life in tight relationship with Jesus. Remember – “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Your actions are an outworking of your relationship with him. Stay close. Stay connected. Stay committed. Toughen up your allegiance to him so you can live in a manner that’s worthy of the gospel.

As you go back to school, who will you live for in this crazy world? Yourself or Jesus? 

I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you. Tell me what you want me to write about. I am here for you and want to be a strong encouragement to you.

Mama B (aka Lisa!)