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Controversial and Thought-Provoking Articles for the Savvy Christian

I Hate the Uncompassionate!

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Friday

Savvy Article #0803

A character from an Austin Powers’ movie once said, “There are only two things I can’t stand in this world: people who are intolerant of other peoples’ cultures, and the Dutch.”

The irony of this blog title is not lost on me.  I have spent much time trying to unbend its twisted ways from my mind … but there it is.  The biggest question being isn’t it uncompassionate to hate the uncompassionate?

I’ll get to that later.  First, I want to tell you about the fist-clenching grrr I feel whenever I run into someone who is uncompassionate.  As an example, I was at a conference recently when I saw someone, I’ll call her Sue, who I had phoned a year ago when in crisis and in pain.   At the conference, while looking at her in the foyer, a wave of fury enveloped me.  I quickly remembered calling her for help and getting no reply. I recalled leaving a second voice mail that was very emphatic, “Please call me back.  I am really hurting.”  No call back.

I had not let this lay-it is not my way.  About two months after the first voicemail, I sent Sue an email asking if she ever intended to call me back.  A bit ornery of me, yes, but the response I got back was telling.  She stated she was a very busy woman, overwhelmed in fact, working only part-time, that she no longer was ministering to what I was suffering, and that she understood my pain but she couldn’t help me.  She gave me a “be warm, be filled, be comforted” type of statement at the end of the email, and closed it with “blessings.”  I understood clearly she neither understood, nor cared about, my pain.

My question at the time-how can a church let someone so callous be in ministry?  And indeed, she was in ministry.  I thought “minister” was the operative word here.

It’s experiences like this-whether it happens to me or others-that fry my cheese.  And yet, I seem to have compassion toward so many other behaviors.  I believe that addiction, lying, aggressiveness, and a host of other actions, including stealing Cheetos from the mini-mart, are often expressions of heartache.  I have come to terms with much of the cruelty that has been done to me with the understanding that it was done to me by someone in pain.

But, until recently, that forgiving perspective for the uncompassionate has been eluding me.  That was, until I saw Sue at the conference.

After seeing this woman and feeling the prickly heat of the soul, I have decided to start empathizing with her.  In my mind, I see her working part-time but being deluged with full-time work-the constant, taxing requests of people in need without enough time to take care of everyone.

I see her going home to a family who also puts urgent demands on her-children who are constantly pressing, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.”

I am not healed of my bitterness yet.  This is just a start.  But the realization itself has been a breakthrough.

The problem Sue had when she ignored my crisis was that she, like many who act hurtfully, was suffering. Unfortunately, at that time, I had needed something from her.  And in the game of pain, her pain beat out mine.

We can argue that she shouldn’t be on staff, or argue at least that she shouldn’t be in a position to minister, but that’s for later.  For now I am ruminating on the fact that she is a woman in pain who simply can’t give more than she’s giving.

Now I have a new problem.  I have become aware that I judge the judgmental!

About The Author

Denise Miller Holmes
Denise Miller Holmes enjoys teaching biblical topics, and especially researching and communicating what Christians believe about the world around them. She sometimes turns established viewpoints on end. A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Journalism, Denise also has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and has been a Christian for over 35 years. She belongs to the writers’ groups Words for the Journey and American Christian Fiction Writers.


One Response to “I Hate the Uncompassionate!”

  1. As always an Outstanding share :-) Bookmarked .

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