Compassionate living - Who am I to judge (Part2)
Compassion that is not limited by reaction
Compassionate living is a calling indeed! You are called to share your love and care for others without expectations. No matter what comes your way! I had been taught to be compassionate from a very young age. So it came naturally to me, but Christmas time has always been a special time for going the extra mile. In the winter of 2010 just a few weeks before Christmas we were out on the streets giving. We (my family and some friends) had during our carol singing noticed that there were many people who slept on the streets of the city I live in. It is pretty cold here at this time time of the year. Most of these people being migrant laborers, are homeless and unprepared for the harsh winters. This month alone 12 people have been reported to have died because of the dipping mercury levels in this state.
The need we had seen made us pool all our money together to buy blankets and give it to these people shivering in the cold of the long winter nights. We (my husband, the kids and I) would drive around the city in the middle of the night, finding someone sleeping on the streets we would give him/her a blanket and some essentials. We had almost finished our rounds and had just one blanket left. To our astonishment there was no one for miles and it was getting very late, it was 2 A.M. I convinced my husband that we would find someone in a greater need later and give the blanket to that person. He was tired too and we drove back home. Just as we took the turn to our lane I asked him to stop the car. The car screeched to a halt close to the pavement. My husband is never very happy being asked to stop when he is testing the speed limits of the car. I ran to the form I saw under the flyover. It was a man sleeping there, he had two dogs for company one at his head and another at his foot, they were curled around him. We woke him up,(for the fear that some one else might take away the blanket from the poor man) and gave him the blanket. He told us how grateful he was and how he had to depended on the dogs to provide him some warmth. We are so happy that we found someone in real need and for having helped him.
It was Christmas eve and after Church we had agreed to meet up with some friends at their place. Wishing and exchanging gifts over cake and grape juice/wine we had some fun time . As we drove back home and took the turn, we noticed that the man to whom we had given the blanket was shivering, no blanket in sight. My husband was angry. He was muttering about how worthless it was to even try and help someone and he was rambling on. It has been a practice with all of us in my family that if we found someone in need of correction or needed to change his/her attitude we would quote a scripture that is apt for the situation. This has always worked effectively for us. So I took my turn to say “Never tire of doing good.” 2 Thess 3:13. As expected my husband stopped his muttering.
Reflections on compassionate living
I was unhappy too. I also thought on similar lines, but I believed that we need to make sure that our works reach the right kind of people. As I was in prayer that day, this thought came to me. Who are you to judge? I was stunned.. I questioned the thought and the answers I got has changed me, transformed me would be the right word. .
I reflected... What if the man we had given the blanket to gave it to someone more needy or had to trade it for a meal, or for some much needed medicines or for a something I really did not have a clue about? I was asking myself again who am I to judge? The answers became clearer.. No one at all. My calling was only to give and not to evaluate what people did with it. If I got into that, I could love no one, I could not be kind to any one, I could not be human any longer. I have been there, thrown away what was given to me with love, because, I was not yet touched by Love. I was a worm that was transformed by love so - who was I to judge.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
I remembered a day maybe eight years ago, when I entered a Bible study in fully swing. I was late by a good thirty minutes as the text message reached me late, the study was in good progress. I entered the packed room found a place right opposite the man who was teaching and I was fumbling for a pen in my purse. The pastor called “You”, I was busy fumbling and did not realize that it was aimed at me... again in a firm voice he said, “You”, I looked up to see that I was being addressed that way. It sounded strange, what followed was even stranger. He said, “ Where have you been so long... you, are called to give... “ and gave me scripture after scripture. Confused I wrote that down not knowing what he spoke. Earlier that day my husband and I had discussed about giving and giving freely of our time and resources and we were not sure if we had that kind of resources. This man from SriLanka had changed my life with those few words... I had never seen the man before or later after a couple of meetings that month.
Luke 14:12 He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid”. In other words Jesus said give without expecting anything and make a business of your so called compassion. Strong words indeed, but so true. I give because I want to and not because I want! should be the way we need to give.
Life has journeyed into gullies and slums working with the poor and reaching out to the needs that we see. Receiving or throwing away a gift is the right of the person who receives. Giving is my calling! I am writing this to keep my focus right! I love because He loved me.. I give because He gave me His life. Compassionate living is not a business deal that calculates the profits and the losses. If I were a loser by giving or loving I am glad to be one. I am no greater no lesser.