[From the archives]
Have you seen this parody of music fundraiser videos? It’s funny and clever and wise all at once:
We are called to comfort others with compassion, to coming alongside others as God comes alongside us. (2 Cor. 1:3-4.) As that parody shows, though, it’s not always easy to discern what real compassion (to suffer with others, literally) looks like.
NPR has reported on the problems of sending thousands of toys and stuffed animals to a community after a disaster. It’s happened with Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, Super-storm Sandy, the Connecticut shooting. One Red Cross worker said they once had to divert a cargo plane full of medical supplies to an airport miles away because the small airstrip in the country she was in was already piled high with worthless items sent by people who thought they were helping.
The Radi-Aid video also points out that cultural differences are another obstacle to understanding each other’s needs, which reminds me of an old Archie comic book I had. Archie and Betty were boxing up some items to donate to charity when Veronica stopped by and asked why they bothered to help poor people.
They told her that some people just weren’t as well off as she was and need a helping hand. After much explaining, Veronica finally started to get it, then jumped up and said she wanted to help too. So she packed some caviar and foie gras, got in her sports car and drove over to another rich friend’s house, saying she’d heard that they had to sell one of their Rolls Royces because money got a little tight. The friend broke down in tears at Veronica’s generous and thoughtful act of compassion. Betty looked at Archie and said, “Well, at least it’s a start!”
People know that others need help, but they don’t always know how to go about helping the right way. Prayer, seeking guidance and advice from people who know more about the needs, these are key, all the while trusting God to guide us in delivering compassion as he has had compassion on us.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4.)