What Do We Really Know?

Posted on August 31, 2014

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I generally have, at the very least, an opinion on most topics.  And while what I feel about an issue or what I know about an issue is limited to my own understanding, most of the time, there are times when I step into that area of uncertainty…making predictions, projecting expectations, trying to maintain my normal head space, just like everyone else.  These days, I rarely take the time to actually sit down and write a heartfelt belief stance about a topic, because…well…we all have our own, and my life experiences are different than yours, and for the most part, most people just don’t care about anyone else’s ideas.  At the end of the day, nobody is going to change the direction of their life based on the direction of mine…nor should they be expected to.  That idea is what led me to write this today.  For those of you actually taking the time to read it, let me preface by summarizing: I’m just cleaning out my soap box.  If you want to help, be good…be honest…and whatever you do…BE Compassion today!  

I was raised in a small, loving, community…in a wheat field in rural Western Oklahoma.  Being the creative, always pursuing kid that I was, it was a great place to learn about adapting to life…the freedom to explore a vast countryside…the lack of crime statistics that plague urban life…the anticipation of a bigger world in achieving my dreams.  Unlike the others, I couldn’t be contained to life in a small town…driving twenty miles and never seeing a stop sign…living for a game of dominoes at the Co-op…everybody up in my business.  I was determined to find that something more that fulfilled me and challenged me to new places and new experiences every day.  And in all that striving, and all that dreaming, and all that reaching…it was that small wheatfield church where my daddy poured out the Gospel every Sunday that has the key to where I am today…because that’s where my parents were.

I was reminded this morning of just how callous and insensitive the church-going community, just like every other community, seems to have become these days.  I am sure it must just be the media’s portrayal, or the raging separation of church and state issues, or the hopeless states of acceptance for things they don’t condone.  I sure it’s someone else’s fault, right?  It’s time for entitlement now, is that it? They’ve heard all the same messages I was raised with, they should understand the importance of reaching out and encouragement, but instead…they put on their Sunday best and go to sit in their regular pew with their families…all in training to be future church families.  They do their three hymns and a prayer and listen to a shepherd calling for his sheep and think about lunch and what’s going on for Labor Day and…COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!!!  They leave church and head to the Golden Corral, talking about everybody’s differences, who did and said what, catching up on the latest gossip from all the family sources, and hurrying to get home before the game.

  • Hebrews 5:2 (KJV)

    Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

Why is there a great portion of the “church” today still ignorant to the world beyond their village.  With information, pro and con, so readily available…vast research in handling social, individual, and community differences, and the basic Bible principles they were raised with…why?  I find myself reflecting on my life again at this moment…back to that little church in the wheatfield where my daddy poured out the Gospel every Sunday…the church where my parents were.  You see, while I was raised through the hype of the “Faith Movement,” I was ultimately blessed with far more adaptable principles…un-enhanced by religious methodology or revelation ideology or passive agressive sick-twistedness.  I was one of those rare kids raised to actually believe the Bible, cover to cover, and pushed out of faith’s comfort nest to find my own…when I was ready.  

  • Lamentations 3:22 (KJV)

    It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

You see, it wasn’t that little church in the wheatfield that ultimately directed me here.  It was the simple, learned and lived-out principles of a family unit that trusted what we believed for what we did not know.  We did not have to pretend to be Jesus, we were not just another dressed up family sitting in a church pew waiting for college football…we didn’t even have a TV.  So, we couldn’t blame the media, we couldn’t pass our failings off on society, we didn’t have a negative pessimism to sink into, we only had ourselves to be.  There have been plenty of times in my life that I have felt like a snowflake in a cold world…feeling the heat of reality, because the majority of people around each of us just don’t care.

  • Psalms 145:8 (KJV)

    The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

What do we really know about Compassion?  I have known the hand of God most of my life…consider myself to be a realist, and surround myself with true friends that hold me accountable to being the man destined to captain my life.  But in founding what I truly believe about my faith, I have found over the years that the walls the church stands behind to proclaim their denominational messages were meant to be walls with doors, not walls of protection.  They have succumbed to a reverse psychology that the world is evil and they are good and that God is only going to give them their mansion on the hilltop if they are good.  And they are happy with that.  It’s comfortable to believe in a place of safety.  It’s easier too.  It requires that the message of compassion involve only the passing of an offering plate and excludes change.  Behind these walls is a community of good people doing fun church-family things and feeling good about themselves.  Is that so wrong?  Only when we’re considering true compassion.  Do we have any idea?  Because Christ giving up his very life in the most pitiful, shameful way to redeem our salvation seems lost, for the most part, these days.

  • Matthew 18:33 (KJV)

    Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

  • Luke 10:33 (KJV)

    But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

  • 1 Peter 3:8 (KJV)

    Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

These verses, beautifully written as they are, have passed through the cracks of a modern church-goer mentality.  We make comments like, “That’s not a Christian song, so it shouldn’t be sung in church.  It didn’t mention God or Jesus or Lord.”  We disregard the God-given gifts of the vessel to try and perfect the message of Compassion by being God’s judgement, ill-qualified as we have not realized we are.  Rather than finding good in a songwriters reach, we don’t accept a song that didn’t preach, because we are too heavenly minded to be real earthly good.

Compassion is not about condoning evil.  It is not about forcing you to change your beliefs about your own faith-walk.  It is not even about going above and beyond to do good.

  • Psalms 78:38 (KJV)

    But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.

God’s compassion…forgave.  We fear and don’t talk about what we don’t understand.  We turn away what we cannot accept.  We all, every one of us, wants to be loved, admired, and accepted.  We are takers.  We don’t address the world with Compassion because we ourselves don’t need it…yet.  We feel like everybody is defrauding us and we feel justified in being pious, peeved church-goers with painted on smiles fighting for a cause we don’t truly understand…yet.  We are spoiled.  We are complaisant.  We are pew-fillers.

  • Matthew 23:15 (KJV)

    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

This is what the church seems to have become.  Due to the pressures of society, we have increased the distance of separation by creating judges instead of advocates.  We have screamed repentance to the top of our lungs while driving the nail in the cross of Jesus.  If someone doesn’t “look right” or “act right” or “be right”…we segregate them.  If someone doesn’t walk the Roman Road to Salvation just right, or get cleaned up to take a bath, we throw more mud on them.

What is it about Compassion that so strongly divides our belief system?  Abortion, gay and lesbian marriage, lifestyles, twerking, whatever it may be…you mention those things…and the hackles on the back of our necks stand up…because our idea of Compassion is limited mostly to third-world countries who need rice and beans to survive.

I know hell-fire preachers…I know alot of them.  I like a good Bible-thumping revival as much as the next guy…I do!  I have admired men like R.W. Shambach my whole life…but I also admire Billy Graham…two completely different styles of preaching…but both REACHING.  Their message of Compassion has led faith-movers all over the face of God’s earth for decades.  But here we are…scrambling to understand how to measure Compassion against the montage of differences facing society and our belief system.  Disregard the opportunities…disregard the potential chances to understand what it is we really don’t understand…and turn a cold shoulder instead.  One portion of church society condones evil…the other turns away with hate and becomes evil, via their heart conditions.

  • Deuteronomy 13:17 (KJV)

    And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

It was not the little church in a wheatfield in Oklahoma that saved me…or the fact that I heard my dad preach every Sunday…or that I had to be in a choir or sing Gospel music or help with children or youth groups that developed by character and outlook on Compassion.  It was a belief planted by good, honest parents every day that set my creative mind and heart on a path toward understanding Compassion.  It is a journey…a life journey.  It was meant to be…to keep us vulnerable and helpful at the same time.  I don’t have to hand bills out windows on every street corner.  I don’t have to visit homeless shelters every day to feel good about myself.  I don’t even have to make sure I support all the charity junk mail solicitations.  I simply must find myself open to learning what I do not understand…from people I do not understand…reaching outside my comfort zone to draw in what will make me better…good and honest to myself, for the sake of seeing others good and honest to themselves.  Just as Jesus was my Advocate to God…I am His Advocate to the world today.  He doesn’t NEED us…He WANTS us.  He CHOSE us.  He went out of His way for us.  What Compassions have we shown that take us out of the way of ourselves to be what we could not otherwise be?  

I am a failure.  I have a testimony for my tests.  I have a message for my messes.  But just as I try to lead the children God has given me to offer guidance in life…I reflect…I have been prepared, and I have been challenged…and I understand that Compassion is teaching them two things and two things only, built around our the trueness of our faith:  Be Good.  Be Honest.  There is a lifetime of things to face that we cannot condone or change.  But if each and every one of us would take the inward challenge to be good and be honest…we would find a Compassion that could change a tide.  People would then want to be like that.  We have for so long accepted what the preacher says we should do…but it’s time for us to accept within ourselves what is good and what is honest and simply be that.  Instead of judging the people around you today, try to find the principles that make them who they are…encourage the good.  Encourage the honest.  That’s Compassion.

Jeremy Dean

http://www.jdeanfx.com

8/31/14

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