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Godless 101: Compassion

It’s the right thing to do.  Why?

It makes me feel good.  Why?

I feel so sorry for those people.  Why?

Why we are doing things for others that are in need, yes the WHY, is often missed in our society.  Just what am I getting at?  Let me tell you.  I‘m talking about compassion, and just why in the world do we have any at all?

Compassion, as defined by dictionary.com is:

1)      A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Why would someone feel pulled to help someone else in need?  Why IS IT the right thing to do?  Why DOES IT make you feel good to help?  Why DO WE feel sorry for people in need?  It would be rare if you did not have any feelings of compassion at all; some feel more, others less.  So, again, why compassion?

In a godless state of mind compassion doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Really, why would it?  If someone starves, then more food is available for MY kid.  If a hurricane hits the coast, then they should have known the coast was dangerous.  If a house gets sucked underground by an earthquake, then thank goodness my house didn’t.  Your blood pressure should be rising a bit with those compassionless thoughts.  Godlessness tells us we should watch out for ourselves.  ME, ME, ME.

My point is that acts of compassion that do not invoke a logical reason for the compassion are hollow.  Why is it the right thing to do?  Who decided right from wrong?  In my book, the foundation comes from God.  God is the perfect judge who will judge us justly with life sentences that he doles out.  God had compassion by sending Jesus to pay our fine and to commute that death sentence.  God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)  Whether you are a Christian or not, you have to admit that if you help out a charity or a “food for the poor” project, its way more than just a tax write-off.  Those feelings are compassion.  They are god-given.  Don’t ignore them.  When we are weak, God is strong, and therefore we are strong.  It’s logical that God’s creation would have innate feelings of compassion.

Acts of compassion feel good.  They feel good because God knew and created us so that it would feel good.  “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”  The golden rule is a classic biblical law based on compassion.  If something feels good, we tend to want to do it more often?  Please keep those dirty minds in check people, but the test works, right?

Also, the whole reason why we may feel sorry for people in need again stems from the idea of the golden rule.  If I was hurt alongside the road, I sure hope someone would stop and help me!  We feel bad and want to help because God‘s Spirit is one of two places.  It’s in you if you are a Christian.  It’s near you if you are not.  We know right from wrong, deep inside.  Paul writes in Romans 1 some very powerful verses:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Rom 1:18-21 NIV)

This verse is key because it sums up many scriptures that point to the futile efforts of working in the field of compassion with a godless state of mind.  Sure, good things can come of it, but truly our eternal destinations are what are most important…Kind of like putting a band aid on a gaping wound.  We know what we should do.  We inherently know right from wrong in most situations.  We feel a need to help, and deep down we know it’s not all about status and tax breaks.

Compassion without a true understanding of just why we feel compassion at all is so hollow and empty on many levels.  Through this mindset that moves without god we miss honoring God, glorifying Him and thanking Him.  We truly are without excuse.  Why do you feel compassion if not for the will of God working in your life, or trying to break into your life?  Are you open to the Spirit, or are you just moving around in a godless state of mind?


Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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