We feel bad. We recognize need. We talk about it with others, buy the T-shirt, and even read the books. But so often we fall short of doing anything. We often confuse the heart of compassion that requires a response with the feeling of sympathy that remains idle.
Most of us hear about need and sympathize. But that’s not compassion. It’s not justice. It’s not mercy. Sympathy remains only sympathy until we do something about it. Then it becomes an act of compassion: an appropriate response to the call of need. Justin Dillon described it best: “A call is someone sharing their need. Sharing their oppression. A response is someone saying I hear you, I get you, and here’s what I’m gonna do.”
I once read an anonymous quote that I think captures our situation well:
Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But, I’m afraid He would ask me the same question…