You don’t have to look very hard to notice that some nations show compassion while other’s don’t so much. Take a look at who responds to disasters wherever they occur. Research which countries adopt children. Who builds hospitals and schools?
Sure within any nation there are people who genuinely care for others in need. But as a whole, we all can make a list of countries who respond to those in need, because it’s always the same ones.
I have heard some people though, regardless of what country they are from, ask why should they help someone else, especially someone who they don’t know. They really think this way if they believe in a social order. When a culture prescribes to a social order in which a person is born into, then why should they help some in need? That is their lot in life.
Before we Americans get to prideful, we have a history of a social order as well.
An unsettling trend is also happening within cultures—outsourcing compassion. “It’s the government’s job”, “that’s why I tithe to the church”, “someone else who has more time and money will take care of it”.
We expect someone else to take care of those in need while we spend our resources on taking care of ourself and our own.
But why do some people care more?
Some people don’t just say they “care”, but they actually do something about it. They give of their resources to help those in need, bring orphans into their families, manage their time and money with the intention of having enough to respond when needs arise, etc.
Why is it that a high number of people who foster or adopt children have themselves struggled with abuse, neglect, or other relational challenges.
Why do many who enter the field of counseling have themselves been helped by a counselor.
Who better can relate to someone who just faced a disaster or tragedy than one who has gone through something similar?
You have to get in touch with your brokenness to care about others.
Things that break us tenderizes our heart. Something in a person who has overcome compels them to help others in need.
Does that mean that you have had an easy life that you need to go out and screw it up just so you can have a compassionate heart? Ha ha! NO! Of course not.
It just might be a little harder to relate until you do get in touch with your own brokenness. You might need to first realize that every one of us is broken. We all need compassion. And if you don’t think that is true for you, well, you probably won’t have the patience and compassion to care for orphans, homeless, those who face disaster, relational challenges…
But it’s more than getting in touch with your own brokenness.
I hate to disappoint you, but even if we are in touch with our brokenness, our hearts will eventually grow cold if that is the only thing that motivates our actions.
One thing that sets apart a nation that expresses a compassion is one built on Christian principles. Still a set of ideals alone won’t last forever. We see that happening in America.
What we need is a changed heart.
God calls it having a heart of flesh versus a heart of stone.
A heart of stone is:
- Not easily softened
- Senseless. Incapable of receiving impressions.
A heart of flesh:
- Is tender
(heart of stone and heart of flesh points come from a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon)
Only God can give us a heart of flesh, one that truly does care for others. He compels us to go outside ourselves, give of ourselves, love those who need to know love.
Self-reflection: Which list of characteristics describe your heart?
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