A few weeks ago, a friend challenged me about my posts on my personal facebook timeline. It seemed to this person that a lot of what I post I do so because I feel I have to. I do post a good bit that is related to my work among Internationals and my organization, The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. I truly appreciate what social media can do for me both professionally and personally. Nevertheless, I took some time to evaluate the challenge. My conclusion, I treat facebook just like I would any open community in which I am present. When I am in community, I enjoy learning what is happening in others lives, reasons for concern and prayer, joyous occasions and fun times, and yes even what you had for lunch particularly if you will share the recipe. I also use facebook to keep up with issues that are important to me and to others. I am rarely in doubt as to most of my friends’ political leanings. Many of them are quite passionate about various legislations and elections. I am not for the most part.
This week as I was studying the book, “The Jesus Priorities” by Christopher Maricle with a group of ladies, we learned of the immense compassion Jesus demonstrated. One of the ladies said, “What are you compassionate about?” “Compassionate about?” I thought. Shouldn’t the question be “Passionate about?” At least that is the word I hear a lot these days in my missional evangelical world. Then I looked up the definition of each word. Compassion according to www.thefreedictionary.com is a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. Contrarily, passionate is having, being compelled by or ruled by intense emotions or strong feeling; fervid; zealous. It occurred to me that being compassionate has more to do with the other, while being passionate has more to do with me.
What am I compassionate about? I am compassionate about the welcome Internationals receive here on American soil. I am compassionate about those who want and need to know that God loves them and cares about their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. I am compassionate about my colleagues from many denominations who are doing amazing things and working tirelessly with too little help and encouragement. I am compassionate about those who want and need for someone to pray for and with them. I am compassionate about those who are mistreated for whatever reasons.
What am I passionate about? Telling others of the astounding ways God is at work in the world. Teaching about being an ambassador for Christ in a globalized society. Getting the word out about how many organizations, my own included, are the hands, feet, eyes, and voice of Jesus in a world that desperately needs a touch and a word from the body of Christ. Opening the Word of God and sharing the encouragement and help I find there knowing that the power of God’s word can help any and all who desire it. Activism that creates a just society for any and all.
The key to all of this is perhaps whether or not my passion is born out of my compassion and does my compassion look like the compassion Jesus had when he walked among us?
Back to facebook… unfortunately I think it reveals more of my passion than my compassion. I’ll work on that….in real community as well, not just the virtual community of social media.
What are you compassionate about?
This post first appeared on the ABP News blog.