Archives for posts with tag: compassion

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe, say, or do.”

*I have seen this quote in several places but do not know the original source.

Who Is Liable in a Traffic Merging Accident? | Mezrano Law Firm

Recently while driving on a limited access road, another motorist entered the highway to my right. The entrance lane was short and the other vehicle needed to merge into my lane. I immediately flashed my lights to let the driver know that I would slow to allow access.

The other driver was unknown to me. I did not know their race, gender, age, or lifestyle. I had no idea about their religious or political leanings. I was faced with the simple matter of courtesy to allow this motorist to merge so traffic could flow smoothly.

Home Depot Delivers on Sales Promises | The Motley Fool

Later that day I was at Home Depot purchasing some paint when another customer approached the salesclerk with a question. The store employee responded multiple times but the customer obviously did not understand what was being said. I realized that English was not this person’s first language and they were having difficulty understanding what was being asked. I intervened and assisted with the verbal exchange.

I did not know the country of origin of the customer making the inquiry. Didn’t know his educational level or vocation. It made no difference if he was an immigrant, legal or illegal, of if he was a U.S. citizen, naturalized or by birth. It was just clear to me that he was having trouble with the English language and needed help.

7 Best Shopping Cart Covers (2020 Reviews) - Mom Loves Best

Before returning home that day I stopped by the grocery store. As I approached the entrance, there were a couple of customers exiting the store and I stepped aside to allow them passage. When I went to get a shopping cart I waited while a woman secured her small child in a cart. The other shoppers were strangers who asked nothing of me and I had nothing to gain from them.

Anthony Ray Hinton

A couple of days later I watched a video where Anthony Ray Hinton* told how he spent 30 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. After a long time in incarceration a new prisoner, Henry Francis Hays, was placed in the cell next to him. Hays, a member of the KKK, and James Knowles were convicted of killing 19 year-old Michael Donald in Mobile, Alabama on March 21, 1981.

Lynching of Michael Donald - Wikipedia
Michael Donald

Hays and Knowles were unhappy about a verdict in a court case of an African American charged with the murder of a white policeman in Birmingham, Alabama. While cruising through one of Mobile’s mostly black neighborhoods, they spotted Michael Donald walking home. Donald  had no link to the court case or even a past criminal record. He was chosen at random for being black and was brutally murdered.

Mr. Hinton, a Black man, befriended this new prisoner. Their friendship grew to be so strong that Hays asked for Hinton to be present for his execution in the electric chair. Hays’ execution was the first in Alabama since 1913 for a white-on-black crime. It was the only execution of a KKK member during the 20th century for the murder of an African American .

When asked about his relationship with the KKK, Hinton remembered what his mother had taught him and said, “It didn’t matter who he was. He deserved compassion.”

Editorial: Flushing the Golden Rule – THE GOLDEN HAMMER

Compassion. What Jesus was talking about when He said, “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” Compassion: a word that begins with simple courtesy and has no “qualifiers.” Do unto (all) others. Treat everyone like you want to be treated. Speak and act like you want everyone else to conduct themselves.

That doesn’t seem too complicated, does it?

Jamie Jenkins

*Anthony Ray Hinton was exonerated with the help of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, author of “Just Mercy” which was recently adapted into a feature film. Anthony Ray Hinton’s own book The Sun Does Shine is a New York Times bestseller and commended by human rights leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu as well as countless publications. 

As is my custom I was present for worship at church last Sunday. The sermon was based on Micah 6:8. “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

The following was the Pastoral Prayer at that service of worship.

Loving God, You are a great God and a good God. Compassion, kindness, mercy, and generosity match Your power and might. You are great and worthy of our praise.

We gather in this place this morning after a week of tumult and trouble. We need respite from the anger, hostility, and harshness of our world. Our spirits are troubled by the struggles for power and control. Our hearts ache for those who are in distress and face an uncertain future.

We pray for those whose names have just been mentioned in our hearing and for the persons and needs that we hold in our hearts. For all who are sick, suffering, or mourning we pray that they will feel Your great love and will be reassured that they are in Your hands and that You offer healing, help, and hope.

We pray for persons whom we know only through the news media. For the accusers and the accused, the victims and the violators, the powerful and the vulnerable, the leaders and the followers, persons in places of responsibility and the common laborer. O Divine Creator, help us to realize that all are Yours and Your grace is available to everyone.

Help us to understand that You call us to do what is just, to adhere to the high standards of morality that we expect from others, to show constant love and generosity to our neighbors, co-workers, family, and strangers and help not to think too highly of ourselves as we live in in community and in fellowship with You.

Help us and all people everywhere to experience the grace You offer through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Give us the will to follow His example of justice accompanied by mercy and kindness.

Father God, teach us how to live with a sense of right and wrong. Encourage us and guide us in our efforts to provide equity and protection for the innocent while promoting justice and mercy for all people. Help us to show love to our fellow humans and to be loyal in our love toward You.

Hear our prayer, O Lord, as we join our voices to pray as Jesus taught us:

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jamie Jenkins

O Lord, we praise you because you are a great and mighty God. We praise you because you are a tender and compassionate God. We praise you because you are an all knowing and wise God. We praise you because you are a God of grace and mercy.

In recent days we have witnessed the unthinkable in Nice, Istanbul, Baghdad, Dhaka, Dallas, Orlando, Minneapolis….

Every day seems to bring a new disaster. Every day people are killed because of their religion, race, gender, lifestyle, or money. Every day children lose their innocence and often their lives. Every day people die because someone chooses to drive under the influence. Life seems to have little value to so many.

With the psalmist (Ps. 13) we ask, “O Lord, how long?” How long will our enemies cause unthinkable pain and suffering? How long will injustice prevail? How long will greed and hatred wreak havoc in our world?

With the prophet Habakkuk (Hab. 1) we know, “There is strife, and conflict abounds… (It seems that your) instruction is ineffective. Justice does not endure because the wicked surround (us) … (and) Justice becomes warped.”

Lord, we confess this morning that it is easy to get discouraged and become despondent because of the evil that seems to be everywhere. But we “trust in your unfailing love; our hearts rejoice in your salvation” (Ps. 13:5).

Our hearts are broken and our spirits are sad because we have experienced the “sin and despair, like the sea waves cold, (that) threaten the soul with infinite loss.” But with the hymn writer, we declare that your grace is greater than anything. In the face of so much pain and sorrow, so much grief and fear, we claim that “marvelous, infinite, matchless grace” to cover us and our world in these difficult days. Our hope is in You, O Lord.

We pray for the victims of violence and injustice everywhere. We pray for those who are responsible for such heinous crimes. We pray for our world and all people that you created.

We pray not as a ritual without meaning but we believe that authentic prayer prompts action. It affects behavior. So, Lord, help us not to conform to the pattern of this world, but transform us by the renewing of our minds. Help us to think right so we can act right. Bring out the best in us. Guard us from becoming so well-adjusted to our culture that we fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix our attention on you, O Lord. Change us from the inside out so that our lives will be pleasing to you. Deep within our hearts we really do want to be like Jesus and we want our lives to reflect Him.

Hear our prayer, O Lord, for we offer it and ourselves in the name of Jesus. Amen.

*This is the Pastoral Prayer that I offered today (July 17, 2016) at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia

Charity 2

As the wipers cleared the rain from my windshield I saw a woman with a small boy in tow. They did not have an umbrella or anything to keep them dry in this summer downpour. They probably lived in one of the many apartments along this street near my house. I suspected that they heading for the bus stop which was a couple blocks away. The rain was so heavy that they would be soaked before they got to the shelter.

I wanted to help but I did not know how.

Although my motive would have been pure, you just don’t stop on the street and offer people a ride. Even when the weather is bad.

Since I drive an electric vehicle (EV) most of the time, I don’t have to get gasoline for my car. But the hotdogs at the QT are the best- and they are inexpensive. So I occasionally stop in and get a hotdog loaded with ketchup, mustard, onions, sauerkraut.

Charity 3

One day recently as I got out of my car to go inside to prepare my “nutritious” and cheap meal, a young man standing nearby asked if I had any spare change. Should I give him money? Should I offer to buy him some food? Should I ignore him? I wanted to help but I was not sure of what to do.

During the years I served as pastor of a local church there were many occasions when persons would stop by the church or my house (everybody seemed to know where the Methodist minister lived) in need of financial assistance. The stories were all too similar. Their grandparent or parent had died and they were traveling to the funeral when they had car trouble that took all their money. They needed money for gas, food, or lodging. Often there were small children in the car.

I always wanted to help but I was not always sure what to do.

Charity 7

Every time I am approached by someone seeking assistance (handout) I am conflicted. I want to help but frequently I feel like I am being scammed. Even when I sense that the need is legitimate I am not sure what will really help and what will simply encourage irresponsibility. If I “help,” I am troubled with whether I did right or not. If I refuse the request for assistance, I wonder if this is one of the times when I failed to be compassionate.

I don’t think I will ever get past the dilemma described above. There will always be situations when I just won’t know what to do. I will continue to struggle to be caring but not an “easy mark.” I will be a sucker on some occasions and I will probably be a stingy Grinch at other times. I am reconciled to that reality.

Charity 4

However, I have found a way to be compassionate,  generous, and responsible with the resources God has entrusted to me. I give to the church that nurtures me because I know it is a good investment in the health and well being of many people locally and globally. I also give to organizations and causes that really meet the needs of humans beings and have proven to be trustworthy and wise in the way they use the funds provided to them.

Charity 1

When I see homes being built for families that otherwise could never afford one, I know that Habitat for Humanity is a good choice for my donations. Knowing what Compassion International does in places of extreme poverty around the world, I feel comfortable providing support through them. I have seen the good work and gladly support Action Ministries Atlanta as they seek to lead people out of poverty by providing hunger relief and educational opportunities to our metro area neighbors in need. Honduras Outreach, Inc. has transformed lives in rural Honduras and now in Nicaragua.

UMC Cross and Flame

Since I am a United Methodist, I support many of the agencies and ministries of the United Methodist Church that have proven themselves to be effective in serving the needs of people.  The United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur has been serving children and their families since 1871. Murphy Harpst Children’s Center in Cedartown provides a safe and nurturing environment where severely abused and neglected children can heal and thrive. I have seen the benefits of Wesley Woods Senior Living as it has been a leader in helping people age with grace. I am heavily involved with Imagine No Malaria, a denominational initiative determined to eliminate death and suffering from malaria. These are just some of the places I am willing to give because I know I am really helping others.

Charity 6

There are times when I want to be helpful but I do not know what to do. But there are other times when I know exactly what to do. And I am trying to do it!

Jamie Jenkins