Yesterday Jeff and I drove down to see Don Graham at the Virginia Veterans Care Center, in Salem. It was good to see Don, and he was looking pretty good and was happy to see us. We had some general talk, Jeff read some verses, I played some music, then we prayed with him. Nothing to fancy or anything, just a good visit. On my way out I was struck with a thought, I think that a lot of times, in America, compassion is looked on as a weakness. Seriously, it seems that if we truly act as Jesus did in His day, by overlooking everything terrible in someones life, whether it be sickness, their money situation or even social bracket, and look at that person as a person, a living, breathing equal, we are somehow weaker individuals. Somehow having compassion has turned into a bad thing.
Please don’t mistake this either. I am not saying pitying someone, because pitying someone is completely different then having compassion for someone. Pitying is staying where you are, whether that be your social status, or whatever. Pitying someone can even lead you to do something good, maybe give 30 bucks to a kid in Africa every month, because you saw a suffering kid on tv. But compassion, is not staying where you are. Compassion is a risk. The word compassion comes from the latin word “compati” which literally means “to suffer with.” You not only risk your wealth or your status, you sometimes will risk your health.
I think a lot of us are stuck in the pitying stage. Where we feel sorry for people less fortunate and want to do something, but ultimately we are scared of the risk. We are scared of becoming a softy. We are scared people will see us crying for a lost, dying, starving, thirsty and broken world. I want to be person that loves people not only for who they are but for who they can become, and overlook their faults to just love them, where they are at in this very point in time. Why? Because God did it for me. In Romans 5:8 it says that God showed his love to us, by the way that he set his Son to die for us while we were still sinners. Which means God loved us before we loved Him. He loved us first, and He continues to love us in spite of all the junk we do. So how come sometimes I can’t overlook the fact that someone dresses bad, or are not up to my standard of cool to hang out with?