Monday, June 16, 2008

Compassion, Making a Difference

Compassion Definition - The Quality of showing kindness or favor, of being gracious, or of having pity or mercy.

Working with deaf people has been one thing that has helped me learn to have compassion for others. I am not always 100% there but am certainly trying. Sometimes deaf people are not as educated as hearing people, may not have as high paying jobs as hearing people, may not communicate with everyone as well as hearing people, and may even be perceived as being a "lesser" person because of their disability. I have seen and experienced this perception first hand. Usually this happens because the person simply does not understand the deaf person or their culture. They are not willing to take the time that is required to deal with that type of person. And more often than not, they really just don't care.

Isn't that what it is all about? Judgement? Perception? Apathy? Isn't it about the perception that one person is better than another person? We simply look down our noses at someone because of the way they look, the way they dress, the way they sound,the way they smell, their economic status or even the way they communicate. We are so busy and so focused on "us" that we can't even see beyond our needs. What I have seen is that people who are "different" for whatever reason tend to make us uncomfortable and since we don't want to feel awkward or uncomfortable, we just avoid the situation. Isn't it arrogant of us to take it upon ourselves to decide what a person needs or doesn't need?

Example 1: I live near the Bristol Motor Speedway. Usually after every race, there is a man and woman with a whole car full of children stuck on the side of the road with a sign that says "Spent all money at races, need gas money to get home."

I have to say, I haven't always been very compassionate at times when I see this situation. Why? Should I have been? I think I should have been. Really, the only opinion that matters is Jesus opinion and what he has commanded us to do.

  • I Peter 3:8 - "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. "
  • I John 3:17 - "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"
  • Jude 1:22 - "And of some, have compassion, making a difference."

Sure I felt bad for the people (mostly for the children) and in that respect I had compassion for them but did I do anything? No. Why? I could probably name several excuses but the main excuse was because I thought I was better than they were. I talked myself out of it because I really didn't care. and they should not have spent all their money! I would never go to the races and spend so much money that I didn't even have money to feed my children or to get them home. I was appalled that people would do this. According to the scripture above, I should have had compassion, loved the brethren, been kind to them because they had a need. It also asks how can the love of God dwell in me if I am not compassionate. Ouch!

Example 2: My husband and I are at a gas station off the interstate near Knoxville. He is pumping the gas and I am sitting in the car. A young guy walks up to my husband and tells a sob story about how he is there with his sister and her boyfriend and they are trying to get back to Knoxville but did not have enough gas money to get them there. He asked if my husband could give him some money to help with gas.

Should he? According to scripture, yes. Was I happy? Not at first. I was skeptical and thought to myself, it is going to cost $50+ to fill my car up. Gas is expensive for everyone. I don't even know if he will really even buy gas with our money. If they didn't have the money, why did they leave the house! What did my husband do? Gave him gas money. When I asked him why, he said "because he said he needed it and I had it." I said "he is probably just going to go buy alcohol or cigarettes, etc." My husband says, "I can't help that....I was just trying to help him out. It is up to him as to what he does with it."

I realized at that time, that you can't "give" with conditions. Either you are a giver or you are not. I should have been thankful that God had provided us with enough money to fill up our gas tank AND give a little more away. We have been commanded to have compassion and help those in need. It is not based on whether or not the person deserves our help. We will be held accountable for what we do and the intention of our heart. By the same token, the person who is receiving will also be held accountable for what they do and the intention of their heart.

Gods compassion was not just an emotion or feeling. His compassion was always followed by actions. He still had compassion on Israel even when they were rebellious and God restored his people. Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, he told us the parable of the Good Samaritan who had compassion on a wounded traveler (Luke 10:33) and of the Prodigal Son whose father had compassion on him when he returned home (Luke 15:20). Jesus showed his ultimate compassion on the cross when he died for our sins. We didn't deserve it, many people will never thank him, and everyday we sin in an act of rebellion after all he did for us. But he did it anyway, knowing how ungrateful and unthankful we would be and that we did not even deserve it.

People have many different needs in their life. Sometimes just kind words are sufficient. Sometimes, compassion may require giving of your time, and sometimes it may require giving of your money or a personal possession. Having compassion is not just an emotion, it requires action. To have this kind of compassion requires that we put away our judgmental "Phariseean" (probably not a word) garments and put on our compassionate Jesus robes....having compassion and making a difference. I guarantee that in the next couple of days, you will have an opportunity and be faced with the decision of should I or shouldn't I? Ask that famous question "What would Jesus do?" The answer will be obvious!

Remember, compassion comes with no strings attached. True compassion is giving out of love and expecting nothing in return. We could all stand to add more compassion to our lives!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Beach

We will call this the "beach survey"....keep reading and you will understand!

This is in response to Bethanne's survey and I assure you I will try to do better than my sister at following the rules and keep my answers to only one word.

1. Where is your cell phone? table
2. Your significant other? work
3. Your hair? blah
4. Your mother? home
5. Your father? home
6. Your favorite thing? beach
7. Your dream last night? weird
8. Your favorite drink? tea
9. Your dream/goal? skinny
10. The room you’re in? Bedroom
11. Your hobby? Homework
12. Your fear? SNAKES!
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Beach
14. Where were you last night? church (not all of us laid out!)
15. What you’re not? skinny
16. Muffins? Banana Nut
17. The last thing you did?laundry
18. What are you wearing? slouchies
19. Something you’re not wearing? socks
20. Your mood? sleepy
21. Your summer? Beach
22. Person you tag? All beach lovers

I would have liked to answer more of the questions with the word "beach". It would look something like this:

1. Where is your cell phone? beach
2. Your significant other? beach
3. Your hair? wet (from the beach)
4. Your mother? beach
5. Your father? beach
6. Your favorite thing? beach
7. Your dream last night? beach
8. Your favorite drink? Ocean water (at the beach) - that's weird I know
9. Your dream/goal? skinny (at the beach)
10. The room you’re in? patio (overlooking the beach)
11. Your hobby? walking the beach
12. Your fear? rain (while at the beach)
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Beach
14. Where were you last night? Beach
15. What you’re not? cold (at the beach)
16. Muffins? Banana Nut (eating for breakfast while watching the surf at the beach)
17. The last thing you did? walk on the beach
18. What are you wearing? bathing suit (only if #9)
19. Something you’re not wearing? shoes (while walking on the beach)
20. Your mood? rested (at the beach)
21. Your summer? happy (at the beach)
22. Person you tag? All beach lovers

I love the beach. I think I would like to live there but only if I do not have to go to work each day. I think that would surely take the fun out of it. I think it would be great to live in a tropical paradise from October - March and the mountains from April - September. Wishful thinking.....oh well, I guess I will have to be thankful for my one week a year at the beach.

Why do I love the beach? I'm not sure.......


  • I am pretty fair skinned so I don't tan really well.
  • I like to ride the waves but have become quite fearful of the sharks in the ocean (thanks to my husband)....and the pecker fishes in the ocean (Bethanne will appreciate that one).
  • Hurricanes would really stress me out.
  • I'm always afraid we will get sucked in the under toe, expecially my children
  • There are alot of strange creatures in the ocean that can hurt you
  • I am certainly not a "skinny minny" so a bathing suit is not my friend.
  • I really am disgusted and disturbed by some of the excess skin that others like to share with everyone at the beach.
  • There seems to be alot of drunk idiots at the beach....some places
  • I seriously hate seafood!
  • My least favorite thing is LEAVING the beach.


  • The sand - what better pedicure!
  • No allergies! No sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and definitely no runny nose!
  • The sound of the waves is the most calming, relaxing sound ever
  • At the beach, I am on work, no school, no responsibility - the greatest decision to make is "where are we going to eat now?"
  • Even though I don't tan to a beautiful dark brown color like my son, I do get a little bit of a tan - any additional color to my lily white skin is an improvement
  • Sleeveless shirts seem to be more acceptable - I have a weird thing about showing my arms but for some reason I don't really care when I am at the beach...explain that one?
  • Makeup - not a requirement
  • Fixing your hair to perfection - not a requirement
  • I have NEVER seen a snake at the beach - maybe they are there but I have never seen one - don't spoil it for me!
  • Walking on the beach - I can barely walk a time or two around the track while at home, but at the beach, I can walk like 10 miles beside the ocean and not even be tired! Why is that?
  • I really think I could be skinny if I stayed at the beach for an extended amount of time - due to the walking thing and the fact that the sun usually takes away my appetite
  • Where else can you eat like 30 popsicles one right after another and not feel bad about's just part of the beach! (ask Bethanne)
  • The late afternoon nap - only at the beach can I take an afternoon nap and not think I am lazy
  • The last and matter how large you think you are or how bad you think you look in a bathing suit, you will always see someone else that is bigger than you and looks worse than you (at least in your mind.....ugly but true!)

Many more pros than cons which helps explain my obsession with the beach. My husband and I will be leaving in 18 days to go to the beach. Two of our children, Anna and Zach will be going on a mission trip to Nicaragua and my oldest son lives 3 hours away from, we decided to take advantage of this and go to the beach for the FIRST TIME all by ourselves! We have had weekend getaways over the years, but this will be our first time vacationing for a week by ourselves. And, just as proven above, what better place to go! THE BEACH!!!!

(I warned you I was obsessed!)

Just a little side note that I am sure Bethanne will second.....we had an awesome vacation about 3 years ago when my Dad took us to Destin....don't you think that would be a great thing for him to do again??? Hint....Hint....Hint to the blog site "Eddie's Place".