The Death of Compassion

I’ve never really been much of a Church goer. Yes, I believe in God. Sometimes I just see something very different in a person than what they seem to be. It’s hard to sit in a building and be “taught” how I’m supposed to live when I feel like something is wrong in the church that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Not to mention the attitudes toward women in many of today’s churches. I did attend a few churches growing up and the lessons I learned that remained most prominent in my memory were the ones that taught that Jesus didn’t treat the poor, the sick nor women as lesser human beings and he taught that we shouldn’t either.


It always bothered me to hear one of the church members I knew pretty well talking about how one of the church elders she thought was a God fearing righteous kind of Christian. Hard, because I could feel that there was just something not quite right about that man. I never did find out just what it was, but I avoided him until I left that church. I’ve always been uncomfortable with people who seemed like something other than what they wanted to appear to be.


Over the last ten years or so, people have come out of their shells, so to speak. That’s not to say they don’t pretend to be good Christians. They still do that. They just keep finding ways to justify the way they treat people. And they’re using their bibles to do it. I was told quite unceremoniously that the lazy man didn’t’ deserve the blessings that a good hard working Christian did. Not in so many words, mind you, but in such a way that I felt the speaker, who is a good 17 years younger than me, thought me naïve and thought herself justified in being against welfare and food stamps. If I had felt it would do any good to argue with her, I’d have asked her how you can look at someone and know if they’re Christian or just lazy?
There was no point in arguing with her because her mind was made up based on what she sees with her own eyes. She simply was not going to hear that just because she could see a person walking around, driving to the store in a decent car and having painted nails and a smart phone, that the person she saw as an able bodied but lazy person that cheats the system. I acknowledge that I could not convince her otherwise.


I lived that life for a while. I was in my 30s with a husband who was pretending to be self-employed while I busted my hump supporting us, including my two kids and his three kids and occasionally other members of his family. For a short period of time, his ex and her fiancée and their baby lived with us as well. They eventually married, but neither of them should have ever been my responsibility to support. But support them I did, to keep them out of worse circumstances. There were times we donated plasma for grocery money because my paycheck ran out before payday. I made decent money but not enough to support that many people.


When tax time comes round in that environment, you want to get something nice for a change. And yes, I earned that money I got back, every penny of it. Why shouldn’t I get something nice for it for a change? Living that way as long as I did made me see the world differently. It made me appreciate what I have. I lived among the salt of the earth. They didn’t get that way because they’re lazy. They got that way for many reasons. Perhaps many of you would benefit from some of their stories. Or maybe mine will suffice. More people struggle WITH jobs than just live off the system. Minimum wage jobs are all there are in many areas and you just can’t support a family on those jobs. So they need help. Their children don’t get their first jobs to save up for a car. They get them to buy their own school clothes so their mom can put more toward the younger kids that couldn’t work yet. They contribute to the household because Mom doesn’t make enough or Dad doesn’t, and in some cases, both combined still don’t make ends meet.


The reality is that it doesn’t matter how many stories one hears, what matters to them is their own perception based on their own experiences. Man’s capacity for compassion for his fellow man has died. Too many people cannot see, or maybe more accurately refuse to see the struggles others face. And even when they find themselves in the position to need the very services that they support eliminating for others, they can’t make the connection. They think, “Well my situation is different.” Sadly, it’s not. What got you to the unemployment line could very well be exactly how the man you called lazy got there. Your D & C could be for the very same reasons that poor young woman needs one at Planned Parenthood. For that matter, your trip to the hospital for that routine mammogram is exactly the same as a divorcee’s trip to Planned Parenthood.


The fact is that YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT BROUGHT ANYONE TO THEIR TIME OF NEED!


Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
(Matthew 7:1-3)
If you are truly a Christian, why are you ignoring the very lessons Christ taught and instead looking to the Old Testament to justify hate and cruelty?

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