Monday, October 01, 2007

Fields of The Fatherless Book Club- Chapter 5

COMPASSION VS FEAR
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Oh baby.... This chapter hits me right where it hurts. Hold on friends. It could be a bumpy ride.
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Compassion- we have that right?? I mean we say we do. Isn't compassion what we feel when we say how sad it is that someone is going through a hard time and we'll pray for them?
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I don't know. What is compassion really? It's a trait Jesus displayed on a regular basis.
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Mathew 9:36
And seeing the multitudes, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd.
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Jesus was always his most passionate about the defenseless and needy. Take a look at Jesus life and you will see Him routinely interact with lepers, children, prostitutes... Jesus dives in with these people in a way that makes me feel a bit ashamed.
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Here is a beautiful definition of compassion from "Fields"
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The word compassion is derived from the Latin words pati and cum, which together mean "to suffer with." Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears.
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Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.
by Henri Nouwen
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Weep with those who weep- Romans 12:15
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Compassion is about going where we are uncomfortable and bearing the burdens of those desperately in need.
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As Tom Davis says- It's not exactly a popular message.
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Jesus never shied away from pain. He was ready and willing to feel it.
Do we do that? Do we let ourselves go there? Do we let ourselves feel the reality of a 10 year old who is sold by her daddy to be a prostitute? Do we feel the hunger of a 3 year old girl alone with her dying momma in Uganda?
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We don't WANT to go there! We don't WANT to feel it. Why?
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FEAR
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Why didn't I help that person I saw on the street? Why don't more people adopt? Why do I want to run away when I hear about all the pain? Why?
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I love what Tom says...
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We are afraid of changing what we have always done. Our lives have become comfortable and manageable. If loving the stranger, the widow and the poor have never been a part of our lives in the past- even if we know it should be- it's much easier to keep living as we always have.
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I've known so many people who feel they are called to give up their present lifestyle and follow Christ in missions or youth ministry or other service. But they're just too afraid.
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And others are intimidated by the little things God asks them to do like becoming a volunteer helper at a week long summer day camp for kids......
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What if these impulses are from God? What kind of joy might we be cheating ourselves out of?
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Ironically, it turns out that fear is what prevents us from growing and changing.
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FEAR WANTS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHANGE;
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Fear demands the status qou. And the status qou leads to death.
Who wants the status qou? It is stagnant and stymied living. On the other hand, compassionate involvement is vibrant and fulfilled living.
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It doesn't matter what the reason or excuse... fear is what keeps us from what God wants us to be. It is not an emotion that should rule us EVER. When it comes down to it fear is almost always selfish. Now hear me- I did not say wise thought or concern. I said fear. Fear is always about me. Compassion is about the other person.
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Fear- it's as simple as that.
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One emotion changes who we are as people. It keeps us chained to what we do not want to be. It keeps us from being everything we dream we could be. It causes us to hold our loved ones back from greatness. It causes us to look back on the past with regret and wonder what we could have done...could have been. It's a slow death while we live.
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I know you've seen this ten times on my blog. You'll probably see it ten more. It can't be read to many times!! :0)
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The Voice Of Adventure
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There is a rawness and a wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it.Jesus says the options are clear. On one side there is the voice of safety. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside, and stay warm and dry and safe.Or you can hear the voice of adventure—God’s adventure.
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Instead of building a fire in your hearth, build a fire in your heart. Follow God’s impulses. Adopt the child. Move overseas. Teach the class. Change careers. Run for office. Make a difference.
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Don’t listen to the whines of those who have settled for a second-rate life and want you to do the same so they won’t feel guilty.
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Your goal is not to live long; it’s to live.Sure it isn’t safe, but what is? (Max Lucado)
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Luke 17:33 Whoever seeks to save his life loses it, but whoever loses his life preserves it.




As we conquer fear our compassion spills over. Jesus is asking me to RUN TO the very pain I run away from. That is when we know God- really, truly see who He is. That is where we will find His blessing. I am absolutely determined that I will live that way. I pray I can learn to do it.
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Angel
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A penny for your thoughts blogger buddies.

5 comments:

Kim said...

This is also one of the hardest things for me. I wasn't afraid to adopt - but then we were adopting an infant. Adopting an older child scares me - but not enough to not consider it.

What does freak me out is when folks on the street ask me for money. I know that to be more like Jesus I should give them all I have. (I have plenty!) But, I know too many people who have had problems. One friend went to go give a man some money, and he mugged her at knife point and took everything she had (money, purse, backpack, etc.). Someone else I know was walking to their car after work, a man started talking to her, so she carried on a converstaion. He also pulled a knife on her and demanded her money. She ended up running into a nearby restaurant and had to wait in there for over 30 minutes until he walked away.

And - I don't live in a big city. This kind of stuff kind of freaks me out!! And it's such a struggle for me. Just the other day, I was walking from my parking garage into work and this guy started walking next to me. He tried to steal a bike that was chained to a parking meter and then started talking to me. He asked me if I was from Arkansas because he met someone who was from Arkansas.....I actually ignored him. I didn't make eye contact - I didn't respond to his questions - nothing. I then felt guilty all day - but I was also anxious during that encounter.[

I don't know...I'm still working through this one. :)

Anonymous said...

Angel- I think that you already are my friend! You already are living your life like that and you inspire me! Just seeking and 'seeing' the truth shows me you are. I am so proud of you. Thank you. Thank you for the gift of your friendship and for being a person who pushes me to be more than I am right now today. Amy (p.s one month till Guatemala!!!)

Holly said...

Amen! "For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power and love and discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

If only it were easy! If only we didn't ever let fear get in the way of God's invitation to join Him in redemptive work, in loving, truly loving people, and serving the way we've been called. It's so much easier to pretend we don't even hear the call, to assume we haven't heard the call, or to fill our lives with so much other stuff that it becomes too difficult to answer the call. But then I read Isaiah 58, about the type of "fast" God desires from us and I realize how far off the mark we truly are...

Isaiah 58:6-12 Is this not the fast I choose for you, declares the Lord, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the opressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked to cover him; and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer, you will cry, and He will say, "Here I am". If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones. And you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell."

Diane Larson said...

Thank you for the recommendation of this book. I used quotes from it to speak last week, larsonquest.blogspot.com. Currently my mom has my copy so I will just leave with, Who wants the status quo? For me that just nailed it. I want so much more than that for my family, for my relationship with God.
Don't you travel soon? Many blessings as you go and bring your little one home. I can't wait!
Diane

amber said...

Oh boy... what a chapter... what a call -- "Compassion is about going where we are uncomfortable and bearing the burdens of those in need." Oh, it sounds so easy until it comes knocking on the door (literally!!!!) as it has this last week! This chapter is being played out in my life in technicolor right now! It's all your fault! You and this book club! :)
No, seriously, one of my biggest fears -- inviting a total stranger from Africa (and a Muslim) into my life and home... and yet when I prayed and asked God to open the doors, to show me the seeds He wanted me to plant, what does He ask me to do? What door does He open?? Wow... facing the fear... walking through it... it's tough! I wish I was farther on the other side to be able to see the sprouted seeds! For now, I have to trust and continue walking forward, relying on His lead.
(I'll email you about it tomorrow, it's getting too late now..)

Anyway, GREAT CHAPTER! :)