DayBreaks for 1/23/20: Indiscriminate Compassion
From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:
In the past 10 days our television screens have been filled with images of incomprehensible devastation in the nation of Haiti. Just today, one of the headlines is stating that the government of Haiti is claiming that 150,000 bodies have already been buried – and who knows how many have yet to be found and buried? Stories of children who have lost their parents, parents who have lost children, elderly individuals who have essentially been left to die because no one could get water or food to them in time. Photos and videos of people shrieking in anguish as they’ve been informed of the death of a loved one, or when they recognized their crushed bodies in the makeshift morgues prior to burial. It would take a truly hard-hearted person to not be filled with compassion at times like this. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been touched by this unparalleled disaster in the western hemisphere.
Compassion at such times is relatively easy to come by. There are other times, however, when we struggle to find a compassionate bone in our bodies. We tend to look at people who have as much as we do (or more) and when they are faced with disaster, we tend to not be as compassionate as we are for the Haitians.
Perhaps we would be well advised to consider the nature of Jesus’ compassion. How did Jesus evaluate who was worthy of compassion and who wasn’t worthy? I don’t see that he ever discriminated when confronted with suffering or need. Brennan Manning made it pretty clear in Abba’s Child when he wrote: “What is indiscriminate compassion? ‘Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, ‘I’ll offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people’? Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could do that only by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature – even to the one who seeks to cut it down. This is the first quality of compassion – its indiscriminate character.”
Have you thought about the compassion that Jesus has shown you? Did you deserve it by your exemplary behavior? Do you feel that Jesus was obligated to be compassionate to you? Jesus isn’t obligated to do anything for us, but he is compassionate toward all of us because he can’t help being compassionate to all. He would no longer be Jesus if he stopped being compassionate. As His children, we should be the most compassionate people on earth. But I wonder: are we?
PRAYER: Jesus, teach us to follow in harmony with your compassionate heart that we may be more like you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>