What do you do when you know something bad is going to happen? Regardless if the “is” is probable or certain, what is the right answer?
With balance and objectivity, looking at another’s life is easier than looking in the mirror. Something comes with just a bit of distance. The mysterious advantage allows one to see things with clarity and foresight. The question which comes with this insight is simple; what does one do? I can see friend’s walking down bath of destruction. Do I have a mandate with my knowledge? I can sense the pain and anguish tearing at another’s life fabric. Does this knowledge come with a price and obligation? I have the opportunity with insider knowledge about future events that will touch people within my reach. What are the options?
There are models available that give us insight on our options. One I find insightful is the response when Jesus revealed he had “put it this way to show how he was going to be put to death.” (John 12.33). He knew what was going to happen. Yes, this was person, but the question remains the same. What should he do? Jesus’ answer is a model we can use in all situations.
With knowledge or without, our response to every situation is the same; active compassion. We can act with mercy, acceptance, and love. At their best, these three nouns in truth are verbs. They cannot be defined without movement, experiential reality, and relationship. They do not stand on their own. They are not words associated with evil.
I look around me and see fear, foreboding, and pain at every corner. In the midst of a global tragedy a world away a man was murdered in his sleep. The answer to both situations is the same, active compassion.
A young girl fights a losing battle for life. I cling to the hope of a time when God restores his children to a new life free of pain and I rest in knowing what I must do. Reach out; be ready; act with compassion.
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