Compassion Revolution Archives 2013

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  • Serving VS Being a Servant by Richard Foster
  • Enthusiastic Ideas: Involvement by Gary Henry 
  • Who IS My Neighbor by Marsha Norris 
  • Sensitivity by Gary Henry 
  • The Fullness of the Lord's Compassion by Pat Gates 
  • Children Without a Voice by Marsha Norris 
  • Aaron's Song by Marsha Norris

 

 

Serving vs. Being a Servant
 
Perhaps you're thinking, "what's the difference?" In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster's points out there is a great deal of difference between the two.
 
"When we choose to serve, we are still in charge. We decide whom we will serve and when we will serve. And if we are in charge, we will worry a great deal about anyone stepping on us, that is taking charge over us.
 
"But when we choose to be a servant, we give up the right to be in charge. there is great freedom in this.  If we voluntarily choose to be taken advantage of, then we cannot be manipulated.  When we choose to be a servant, we surrender the right to decide who and when we will serve.  We become available and vulnerable."
 
So the question is, which one does Jesus call us to?
 

-Richard Foster

 

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Enthusiastic Ideas
 

Involvement

 
“You can’t be detached and effective” (Abba Eban).
 
EFFECTIVENESS ALMOST ALWAYS REQUIRES INVOLVEMENT. In sports, for example, the spectators’ enthusiasm may be a factor, but basically, the outcome is determined by those who are involved in playing the game on the field, not by those who are just watching.
 
The concept of “involvement” is an interesting metaphor. The Latin verb involvere was a compound made up of in (“in”) + volvere (“to roll or turn”). Literally, then, if two things are “involved,” they are “rolled together” or “intertwined.” With this picture in mind, when we say that a person has gotten involved in some activity, we mean that he or she is “wrapped up” in it. Previously, they may have viewed the activity passively or from a distance, but now they and the activity are intertwined, like the strands of a rope. No longer are they passengers, spectators, or commentators — now they are INVOLVED.
 
Don’t we need to be more involved with life and its worthwhile activities? I believe we do. In my own life, I constantly battle the temptation to back away from things, to remain passive. And to the extent that I give in to that temptation, I am the loser. What about you? In all honesty, what do you see in your life: a pattern of courageous involvement and engagement, or a tendency to take the easy way out and remain passive? Are you “intertwined” with life or not?
 
I like to look at the difference between involvement and non-involvement as the difference between going forward and going backward. Am I going to get involved and engage this difficult, unpleasant thing that is on my “to do” list, or am I not? If I go ahead and get involved with the thing, I move forward, but if I back away from it and remain passive, I lose ground. It takes effort to overcome inertia and engage life, but there is no other way to avoid going backward. And if we’re going backward, we’re not really living; we’re dying.
 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Act — act in the living present, / Heart within, and God o’erhead.” I challenge you to do what Longfellow said: ACT. Be wise and careful, of course, but get involved and ACT. Life’s a great drama, so participate and play your part!
 
“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, in wisdom” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
 
Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

 

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Who IS My Neighbor?

Marsha Norris

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 

And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 

But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 

Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  

But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’  

Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”  And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” --Luke 10:25-37

Jesus’ answer to the question, “What shall I do to have eternal life” illustrates a way of life that must become our way of life. It’s a lifestyle of mercy, compassion and love that reaches beyond family, race, social backgrounds, religion, and any other possible barrier or prejudice. It’s a radical kind of love that reaches beyond boundaries and encompasses even our enemies.

In biblical times, the road to Jericho was a violent road (often referred to by contemporary writers as “the bloody way”). While the man who was beaten and robbed laid half dead on the road, both a priest and a Levite passed by. Yet a Samaritan (regarded with distaste and highly loathed by the Jews), was moved by compassion for this man and took action. The Samaritan gave of his time, his money, his effort, even risked his own life on this bloody and dangerous road to help this man in need. A man he did not know.

Is it not odd that the priest, steeped in knowledge of scripture and a teacher of the law, would cross to the other side of the road rather than reach out to the suffering?

Was the priest not familiar with Leviticus 19:18?

“…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

No, I don’t think it was a lack of knowledge that caused the priest to cross to the other side of the road, nor was it a lack of knowledge that led the Levite to do the same.

In our own experience, has Bible knowledge always kept us on the straight and narrow? Despite commandments instructing us to use our money, time, and resources to help others; to show mercy and compassion to the downtrodden, suffering, poor and marginalized, have we ever violated or failed this command? Have we ever looked for disclaimers or exclusionary clauses? Absolutely! So then we must agree that “knowledge” is not a fail-safe motivator for unconditional compassion.

Perhaps the reason the priest and Levite crossed to the other side of the road was they didn’t feel the half-dead man worthy of their help? No doubt these were busy and important men who possibly were on their way to an important meeting or to teach the law to others. What did this nameless man’s needs have to do with them anyway? No, they had places to go and things to do and besides, stopping along this road was risky!

The Samaritan, on the other hand, did not feel this man was beneath him, nor ask to see the beaten man’s resume or ask for references before taking action. He saw this nameless man as his neighbor and acted accordingly. He allowed himself to be inconvenienced, risked his own safety, and delayed his journey so he could care for him. The Samaritan saw the need and without questioning the man’s worthiness immediately responded.

What the law expert lacked that the Samaritan had was compassion, mercy, and love: defining characteristics of Jesus Christ that led Him to the cross.

I’m so thankful Jesus’ mercy, compassion, and love for us is not based on our worthiness. (Thank You Jesus for going to the cross for MY sins!) Were it based on our worthiness, we’d be doomed for sure!

Not until we fully understand and appreciate our own unworthiness before God can we truly feel and extend unconditional compassion for others. A compassion that reaches beyond race, religion, family, social backgrounds and every other barrier. Compassion that is selfless, takes risks, and seeks to emulate the lifestyle of Jesus. Jesus says to inherit eternal life we must “Go and do the same.” We must become like the Good Samaritan.

Who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is everyone.

And as always…be blessed and go and be a blessing!

marsha

 

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Sensitivity

by Gary Henry

 

“The very nature of intelligence is sensitivity, and this sensitivity is love. Without this intelligence there can be no compassion. Compassion is not the doing of charitable acts or social reform; it is free from sentiment, romanticism and emotional enthusiasm. It is as strong as death. It is like a great rock, immovable in the midst of confusion, misery, and anxiety” (Jiddu Krishnamurti).

OUR “SENSES” ARE IMPORTANT BOTH PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY. In the physical realm, if our fingertips are insensitive (that is, they can’t feel anything), that is a significant problem. But emotionally, if we have a low degree of sensitivity (our HEARTS can’t feel anything), that is an even greater problem. Our senses, whether physical or emotional, are meant to give us feedback from the external world, and if they don’t do so, then we are isolated within our own selves.

As Krishnamurti suggests, sensitivity is closely linked to love. Love is an outward-moving force that urges us in the direction of others. It causes us to want to serve their needs. But to act responsibly, love must be preceded by sensitivity. We must be able to “feel” with our hearts the experiences and needs of those around us. It is difficult to imagine how a person could love and not make an effort to be sensitive. We may love and not be as sensitive as we ought to be, but love will make us want to IMPROVE our sensitivity, at the very least.

Sensitivity requires paying conscious attention to those around us. “It means ‘tuning in’ to the thoughts and feelings of [others], listening to the cues they give us, and reacting appropriately to what we detect” (James C. Dobson). For busy people like us, that is not easy.

Not only does sensitivity require conscious effort; it is somewhat dangerous. It requires openness, receptivity, and even the willingness to be vulnerable. It can’t be practiced very well by “protective” people.

In the end, it is usually suffering that teaches us what sensitivity means and how to practice it. It is the taste of tears that makes our hearts more responsive to the tears of others. And it is the struggle to overcome difficulty that makes our “senses” more alive and alert.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen” (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross).

– WordPoints.com

 

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 The Fullness of the Lord's Compassion
(excerpt from article The Trophy Generation by Pat Gates)
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It's interesting to note the five times the gospels mention the word compassion in connection with out Lord, it covers every act of compassion we should possess. Notice: 

  • Compassion for others who were lost spiritually: But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Matt. 9:36
  • Compassion for the sick:   Mat_20:34 And Jesus, being moved with compassion, touched their eyes; and straightway they received their sight, and followed him. Mar_1:41 And being moved with compassion, he stretched forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou made clean.And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. Matt. 14:14
  • Compassion for those who had physical needs that weren't being met: Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. Matt. 15:32 
  • Compassion for one who needed forgiveness: Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. Mat 18:27-35
  • Compassion for those in grief: Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. Luke 7:12-15 
  • Compassion on those who were harmed by others: Luk_10:33,34 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion, and came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on them oil and wine; and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Notice: Jesus also noted those who did not have compassion. God sees all. 
  • Jesus had compassion on sinners: Luk 15:18-20  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: (19) I am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But while he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

 

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Children Without a Voice

by Marsha Norris

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." —Matthew 10:42

Fourteen and fifteen-year-olds Shari and Chrissy had walked to their Toledo, Ohio neighborhood Wendy’s late afternoon to get a Frosty. Little did they know the high price that Frosty would cost. A Lincoln pulled up along side them, kidnapping and forcing them into a prostitution ring. Shari and Chrissy would be taken to truck stops and forced to go from truck to truck selling their bodies for sex. All for the lucrative benefits of their trafficker.

Please take a few minutes to watch their story and meet them at this link:

http://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/http://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/

Truck stops, especially along the interstates, are a booming business for pimps. Often young girls who have been abducted are taken to truck stops and told to “work the truckers.” If a girl fails to meet her monetary quota that night, she is usually beaten or brutalized in some way by her captor.

Shari and Chrissy were fortunate in that they eventually were rescued due to a caring trucker who, noticing how young they were, picked up his phone and called the cops. But many girls aren’t so fortunate. Most truckers, at least in the past, have turned a blind eye to what is going on. Most likely for the same reason many of us would: they label these girls as “prostitutes who are working the truck stop on their own free will,” never considering they have been abducted into that lifestyle. Rarely, let me repeat…rarely, is a prostitute selling her body because she chooses to. Behind most prostitutes is a pimp who controls her through physical and emotional abuse and threats to harm her family. (And strangely enough, sometimes he controls her through promising he will love and protect her.) We have failed miserably at LOOKING BENEATH the SURFACE and recognizing that these young girls and women are actually victims of human sex trafficking rather than prostitutes choosing this way of life.

Thankfully, truckers in many places are banding together to blow the whistle on this crime and rescue girls being forced to go from truck to truck where they are violated. Praise God for these compassionate souls! Yet the nagging question remains, “why isn’t law enforcement monitoring the truck stops?”

Twelve to fourteen is the average age girls are abducted into human sex trafficking. Sometimes these are runaways picked up on the street and befriended by a trafficker who offers them food, shelter and protection. Sometimes they are seduced from meeting someone online. Even peers or friends at school can lure them into this captivity. Unless rescued, they usually die within seven years. Often they turn to drugs (or are forced to take drugs) to make their lives bearable. And did I say twelve to fourteen is the average age of abduction? Some little girls as young as nine are abducted and violently degraded and used in this horrific way to fatten the wallets of a slimy pimp! Think about it….how old are your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, friends’ daughters? Put their sweet faces on the Children Without Voices and it becomes very personal.

The Republican and Democratic Conventions, the Super Bowl, and other such national events are gold mines for pimps to traffic young girls. Massage parlors, escort services, strip clubs, brothels, mail-order-brides, even nail salons (especially Asian salons) are often fronts for forced sex trafficking. And the traffickers are not always your typical pimp. They can include intimate partners, parents or family members, gangs and criminal networks, and small businesses.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “That’s a problem for other countries, not here in the United States.” Well you can think again. It’s happening big-time right here in our country. 100,000 children are commercially sexually exploited in the United States each year and an estimated 200,000 – 300,000 youth are at risk for being sexual exploited. My state, North Carolina, ranks 8th in the country for reported cases of sex trafficking. North Carolina? Are you kidding? Unfortunately, no, I’m not kidding. Interstates, I-95, I-85, I-40; our agricultural and meat processing industries; coastal tourism; immigration; military bases; and the high number of universities contribute to our high ranking. And thus far, we are not numbered amongst the states that offer Safe Harbor to the victims. Safe Harbor laws protect children from being penalized for their own abuse and exploitation. They close the gap between existing anti-trafficking laws and those that allow for children to be prosecuted as criminals, even though they are victims of sex crimes. Currently few states have changed their laws to protect exploited children from prosecution.

Human sex trafficking is the second-ranking crime in our country, close on the heels of illegal drugs. However, human sex trafficking is projected to soon become the number one crime, displacing illegal drugs. Why? Because a drug can be used only once and its shelf life is over. Whereas a human can be used over and over and over again. Each use increasing profits for the trafficker.

(Boys, too, are at risk for abduction. The average age for boys abducted into trafficking is eleven to thirteen.)

Human Trafficking Hotline: 1.888.3737.888

If you suspect trafficking going on around you, please call the hotline number. Be assured you won’t have to give your name or any other identification. During January, Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the hotline received 2,850 calls. The average number of calls per month during 2012 was 1,721.

In January Katie Couric, joined by Jada Pinkett-Smith, did a segment on human trafficking. I urge you to go online and watch this video to better understand the invasiveness of human trafficking right here in our faces and our need to get informed and inform others.

http://www.katiecouric.com/on-the-show/2013/01/14/jada-pinkett-smith-and-the-war-on-human-trafficking/

Are you mad yet? Does the very thought of child sex trafficking make you sick? I hope so! Because together we are going to make a difference. We are going to learn about human sex trafficking right here in our own country, hopefully in our own state, and help raise awareness. Until we do, this most despicable of all crimes will go on and on.

So our assignment for now is to watch the two video links I’ve included, and to pray for these precious, innocent children who have no voice. Pray for their rescue and restoration, for law enforcement to step up their part, for citizens to be more vigilant and willing to get involved, and for the traffickers to come to know the power and salvation of Jesus Christ.

And as always, be blessed…and go and be a blessing!

 ,

Aaron’s Song

By Marsha Norris

,

A phone call in our house at 7:45 in the morning is rare. When I heard the preacher’s voice on the other end, I knew this would not be good news.

“What’s wrong?” I stammered.

“I’m so sorry to tell you this, but Aaron Allgood died last night.”

Surely there had been a mistake. Aaron was 24 and a healthy young man.

“Died?” I questioned.  “What happened?”

“Aaron was killed by a drunk driver who ran a red light. It happened right after midnight, just a half-mile from his house.”

Immediately my thoughts flew to his parents: two faithful, godly servants, always helping and encouraging others. No, this could not be. Please, Lord, don’t let it be true!

Dazed, I hung up the phone and put my head down and sobbed. Not for Aaron who was now in the “perfect world” and with Jesus, but for his parents, brothers and family. I cried for their pain and the raw gaping whole in their hearts.  What to do with that hole? Briefly I thought about running away and leaving all the pain behind. But that is not possible. Our pain always goes where we go. It must be acknowledged, embraced, and worked through. And my pain was nothing compared to the pain Aaron’s family was enduring.

Over the next few days the Allgood’s home was flooded with spiritual family, extended family, and friends. Many arriving with food; all arriving with compassion, hugs, tears, and memories of Aaron. His younger brothers (still in middle school) were quiet, no doubt trying to comprehend how big brother could be there one moment and gone the next. Older brother was quiet too. Most likely the same thoughts were running through his mind.

The night of the viewing guests overflowed the funeral home, lining up across the parking lot. Some said they waited two hours to greet the family. Again, love and compassion flowed freely, comforting the family and all who came to pay their respects. Love reached out and united all who came. Compassion wept with those who wept.

Aaron’s memorial service was held at our church building, the church home he had grown up in.  Love and compassion arrived again: overflowing the parking lot into the streets, down the streets and into adjacent neighborhoods. The auditorium seating spilled into the foyer, nursery, down the halls and into classrooms.  No doubt we tripled – at least – the number allowed by the fire marshal. But he wasn’t there and we were, singing hymns, praying and sharing stories and memories of Aaron.

Addison, Aaron’s older brother, shared with us his experience in the hours after Aaron died.  Addison said he felt a need to go to Aaron’s house after leaving the hospital. Once there he walked around the living room picking up things and putting them back down. And then he came across a piece a paper with the following words in Aaron’s handwriting:

Lord let my feet walk,

Tight filled on the path of righteousness

I want to be your child 

Lord as I walk this life

My way and fall on all my mistakes

I do with a smile

As your child.

Addison, who has been living in California the past few years but had come to spend the holidays with his family, plans to move back to North Carolina soon. He also plans to take the words Aaron wrote and make them into a song. What a beautiful memorial to his brother that will be! And I just can’t wait to hear it!

“Yes, Lord, let my feet also walk tight on the path of righteousness, I want to be Your child!”




http://ourhopeonline.com

November 2017