My favorite part of a meal of “Chinese” food is the last few bites. When everything has mushed together, and it’s like a medley of General Gao’s Chicken, Low Mein, and Shrimp Fried Rice all at once.
Today, a similiar medley was lurking about my brain. It was a medley composed of an amazing Ted Talk about compassion, my afternoon beer (Shock Top Raspberry Wheat, if you’re keeping track of such things) and a question my friend Eric posted on Facebook.
Basically, Eric was asking about how we Christians should navigate the tight rope between spreading the word of Jesus love and acting out kindness for those in physical needs.
Many of the fb responses were results-focused. They lead to questions about the distinction between helping and enabling people but the thing is, they were all (including my own) looking in the exactly the wrong direction.
In The Ted Talk, the speaker said, “Compassion is a sign post, not a solution.”
Perhaps the beers roll in this was bringing me from the above statement to the realization that God is the author of compassion. If it was just about recieving kindness, none of us could out do our creator.
But He calls us out to be junior partners, co-creators, or at the least like the elves at a Christmas Party, distrubuting the gifts that come from Santa.
It’s always easy for us to think about the transformation we bring about in others. This is partially an act of arrogance, I think. At least it is for me. Because it allows me to deny that I am in need of transformation. I can focus on the recipient of my gift, and think about how much better they are because of my act of kindness.
(Never mind that whatever the act was, it came from God)
It allows me to overlook the ways I am transformed in my acts of giving.
It’s kind-of paralell to the whole heaven-and-hell thing. After much arguing, prayer, reflection, and debate, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s none of my business who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. I am called to proclaim the truth that I live by. But what happens next isn’t about me.
And so it with compassion, genourosity, acts of kindness. I am called to engage in these things. Because it is good for me. If my kindness gets sucked into a black hole, if my genourosity doesn’t change things, if my kindness isn’t recieved… None of that is any of my business.
Regardless of where they land, I am made holy in enacting them. And that, after all, is the point.