Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking In, Looking Out, Looking back....

I had the opportunity to see how another part of the world operates and just how blessed we in North America really are. As we went down to Ecuador as sponsors of Compassion International, I have come back with many mixed feelings and many opinions. Sharon and I had the opportunity to share our experience this last Sunday and now, I am reflecting not just the trip but our stories.

I can honestly say how grateful I am for going on this trip and seeing how things are done and how the children are cared for, but again, I am startled by the fact that we can still do more. This is not a ‘guilt trip post,’ but one to get people thinking beyond themselves, especially in our culture.

I am still choked up by a text I received on Sunday that said “People say we can’t afford to do this (Sponsor Children), but how can we afford not too?”

Having compassion on people should be something that believers must be doing all the time. Having compassion on someone can be time consuming, expensive, and just plain hard—on everyone involved. Compassion just does not mean people in a third world country, but also those in our inner city and province who have found themselves in a bad position.

I am interested to know your thoughts when it comes to showing compassion to our society around us.

My prayer has been “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”

Thoughts?

6 comments:

Chris said...

During my time in the Philippines in 2005 I heard a sermon on "5 Dangerous Prayers" and I believe this is one of those prayers (if it wasn't it should have been):

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”

Living in North America is mostly safe and the closest we usually get to danger is walking through downtown or a rough neighbourhood. If we truly want to experience all that God has for us we need to live a dangerous prayer life, being ready and expectantly waiting on Him. If we truly desire to be as Christ-like as we can be, we need to say this prayer regularly - hoping that and desiring for God to use us to affect the world starting with our own neightbours and neighbourhoods.

I know I have, and I continue to desire to, experience the emotions that God experiences when He looks at me, my family, friends, neighbours and the world at large. The more we experience God working in our hearts and minds, the more we will understand Him and be prepared to live as a living sacrifice to Him.

(WARNING: Sometimes the emotions will be overwhelming, however experiencing the joy of the Lord will always be worth the tears and upset He feels also.)

Jimmy in Calgary said...

Interesting, Gerry. I think the focus of compassion should start where you live and grow as you grow (fiscally, emotionally, etc.) But I find people are much more willing to embrace long-distance compassion efforts. Perhaps for the 'glitz' that comes from having a photo of a third-world child on your fridge - and being able to tell stories of how you're helping. But what if you stuck a photo of the homless guy that lives in the back alley near your work on your fridge? Think of the stories you could share! ya - this is my compassion sponsor project...

Don't get me wrong, I have some huge issues with the homeless problem in our major cities - having experienced the underbelly for a few years first-hand, there are many people who choose that lifestyle and make a significant income doing so. But there are legitimate cases that need help - but we too often pass-by because our compassion effort is focused thousands of miles away.

Your comment Ger on "Having compassion on someone can be time consuming, expensive, and just plain hard—on everyone involved."

Sure it can be. But it doesn't have to. My advise - Start Small. Start Local. And be Creative. You'll be surprised at the difference you make.

SoulPastor said...

Hey Jimbo in Cowtown

You echo my statement in that "Compassion just does not mean people in a third world country, but also those in our inner city and province who have found themselves in a bad position." I must say that the spiritual community that I am a part of does an 'amazing' job in reaching out to those in need locally.

Manetheren said...

It's interesting that I saw this post right after reading a story at CBC's news site about Vancouver police throwing the possessions of homeless people in the trash if they are unattended, even for a moment. I guess we need to work on compassion a lot more.

RosalieG said...

Funny I saw the video machines in the homes as an opportunity. If Christian movies or shows in their language could be sent to them it would be neat for discipling.

I wonder how it affects them if tv allows them to see how the rest of the world is living.

Anonymous said...

I agree we should be showing compassion all the time and I think not just for a season. We forget, I know I do that there are still 11 months in the year to show compassion to a suffering world, and not just Christmas.

There are so many needs in the inner city right now in Winnipeg.

I see it everyday in the place I work. The men and women who come in stoned, broke, angry, addicted or perhaps having a bedbug hanging from their sleeve..yuk..I think in the moment; and then quickly realize, "what am I thinking?"

Where is your compassion for this person, I tell myself. How do we show compassion to a hurting community on a daily basis? I've been quick to judge at times, and other times ready to serve. I just wonder in my own life about my compassion for other's; do I only choose it for a season to be compassionate..does it become the hightlight for a limited time or do I really see through the heart of God and his brokeness for our world on a daily basis of the need's of our hurting world in my rushing through this life.