Why Yes! Don’t mind if I do!

Have you ever been shocked by a kind word from a stranger or an encouraging word from one who seldom encourages? Compassion comes in many shapes and sizes. In fact, it might be said that each human carries his or her own brand of compassion.

Compassion might be defined as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”

Friday's (3/2) tornado that struck West Liberty, Kentucky, stayed on the ground for 95 miles, the National Weather Service says.

For example, last week, several tornadoes criss-crossed Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama, and Georgia leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. By the time calm returned Saturday, 41 were dead: 23 in Kentucky, 13 in Indiana, three in Ohio, and one each in Alabama and Georgia. This qualifies as a “misfortune” from the above definition. Federal and local officials were still assessing the damage Wednesday. Meanwhile, while the Feds and others are busy “assessing” the people of these towns and neighboring areas are busy helping one another. THIS IS COMPASSION, and it is best handled by those on site! Yes, the federal money will help rebuild, but that is not the immediate need. Is it remotely logical to expect the federal government to tend efficiently to urgent and immediate needs BETTER than the local community?

Now, for those attempting to be obedient to Christ’s teaching, look at Matthew 25:31-46 (pick the version of your choice!) Often, segments of this “teaching” are taken out of context, but here, you can read the entire section. The essence of this does NOT say that the government should take care of those in need, does it? NO! He challenges the individual believer, the individual citizen to help as he is able, not for the headlines, not for some gratuity, but out of COMPASSION.

This is just a sampling of the articles on the topic of the recent tornadoes. There are other “misfortunes” that come our way that can draw compassion. The loss of a job, a the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, a sudden accident or illness … all of these are included in the “stricken by misfortune” concept. All are outlets for our compassion and our touch.

Please notice these situations are sudden, unexpected circumstances that are beyond the control of the “victim.” Contrast this with the unemployed office manager who while receiving his original 26 weeks of unemployment, sat on his couch and watched TV all day. NO! This is not everyone, but, sadly, it is a growing number of Americans choosing not to work, choosing to “take what they’re entitled to from the government!” It may not be as an office manager, but isn’t something better than nothing?

There have been a couple times in my life when I was “forced” by circumstances to work “beneath” my pay grade in a minimum wage job rather than a teaching position. At one point, when I first became a single mom with 3 teens, I took a job at a convenience store – graveyard shift because I figured it was the least intrusive on my time with my kids. My oldest was 16 and the youngest was 11. Every night I’d leave the house about 11 pm, walk 1/2 mile to the bus stop and wait. Weekend night, my son (13) walked me out and sat with me until the bus arrived. Often, I walked with tears running down my face, but still I walked. I worked. I paid the bills. I saved enough to buy a car. And so on … My children learned valuable lessons during that time. So did I! I was taught by my parents and grandmothers who experienced the “Great Depression” to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” for all I had, rather than adopting the selfish attitude of “I deserve more!”

WE MAKE OUR OWN CHOICES!

GRATITUDE or GREED?

I could have sat home and collected unemployment, food stamps, etc. I did receive some help from local friends and a church. The Bible gives guidance for situations like this. Jesus said there would always be poor. He urged us to order our priorities. (John 12:8)

  • Timothy 5:18 (Amplified Bible) “For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain, and again, The laborer is worthy of his hire.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10 For while we were yet with you, we gave you this rule and charge: If anyone will not work, neither let him eat.

Democrat vs Republican

For the last few decades, Democrats have taken the bows for being a party of “Compassion.” They claim their tendency to create and support government programs that are designed as short-term help for struggling Americans as their legacy of Compassion. Republicans were often portrayed as the grumpy old rich guys, too stingy to help anyone. The truth of the matter, as explained above, is that government programs do NOTHING to actually HELP struggling Americans find their way out of hardship. Instead, these programs pay Americans to do nothing. Just another government subsidy! Short-term assistance is available through most churches, synagogues, and many charitable organizations. Think what a load off our strapped government finances it would be if we each, as individuals, assumed the responsibility like those in the towns where the tornadoes hit, to HELP our neighbors get back on their feet. And, as a plus, we’d be following the guidance of Jesus.

Check the link above for basic and succinct differences between the Republican and the Democratic parties. YES! It is the civic duty of Americans of all faiths and no faith to be informed and know what the party and the person represents!

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