When people are hurting, the choice is simple; act with compassion or ignore the pain. Within the choice there are many alternatives. It is not easy to know which one to choose. It is also easy to get it wrong. Yet the primary decision is basic, simple, and confrontational. Will we act on what we see or not?
I’ve been reminded several times recently of the connection between knowledge and knowing. Once one knows one cannot forget. When the knowledge is there one may choose not to act yet the knowledge itself changes forever our way of looking at the present and the future. Yet knowledge in and of itself isn’t enough. There is the question of intentional choice. Will we choose to act given our knowledge? Can we stand by doing nothing? Is our answer one of pretending to be blissfully ignorant?
I carry hope of people in action. It is a hope born and nurtured by stories of unconditional grace – people giving of themselves with no hope of anything in return. Recently we have witnessed stories of mothers and fathers giving up everything for the life of their child. I hope we never forget these stories because they are at the heart of what it means to be part of God’s family. I pray the stories are told and retold, keeping alive the fountain of love which sustains life and relationships. Yet there is a warning which must come with these stories and the question of action in the present.
Don’t assume others will endorse an unconditional response. Naysayers are alive and well! You see it historically. When Jesus acted “some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus.” (John 11.46) If you or I choose to act today there will be those who question, others who doubts, and even some who will suggest we are acting with self-serving motives. These self-centric individuals need our compassion. Yet we cannot let the fear of what others may and will think to dictate limits around our action. The paths are clear; it’s time to choose.
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