Most people see that question as a horrible question. We DO NOT like to ask it or answer it. About the only time most of us willingly ask or answer that question is when we are with people "who share our personal passion."

Why regard that question as horrible? (1) We fear someone will take advantage of us. (2) We fear someone will expect more than we can do. (3) We fear we will get into circumstances or situations we cannot get out of. (4) We fear someone will mistake our concern for commitment. (5) We fear we might be exploited. (6) We fear we may become an "opportunity" rather than a person. (7) We fear feeling used and deceived.

We fear. Note often our response to an opportunity to help is more likely to produce fear rather than compassion. We are more likely to feel fear instead of compassion. Our focus is more likely to be, "Do they care about me?" rather than, "Do I care about them?"

Jesus wanted to help. Did he help everyone? No. Did he help those that asked? Sometimes, but not always. Often his response was determined by others' motives. Did he help the hopeless with enormous needs? Frequently. Outcasts in dire need often received his compassion and help.

Did fear determine who he helped? No. Did some take advantage of him? Yes. Did some expect things he could not give? Yes. At times was he in extremely awkward circumstances? Yes. Did some mistake his concern for compassion? Yes. Did some attempt to exploit him? Yes. Did the motives of others deceive him? Never. Did others' bad motives or attempts to exploit him cause him to quit caring, to quit expressing compassion? Gratefully, I can say never.

Jesus never said, "I am tired of people being 'down and out' before they seek my help. I am tired of people asking for my help when they finally realize they have no where else to turn." Consider the statement found in Hebrews 4:14-16.

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Jesus specializes in helping those with weaknesses. He specializes in helping those who need mercy. He wants us to realize our weaknesses and need for mercy. Then, he wants us to approach "the throne of grace" in confidence.

We have problems and needs. Jesus has mercy and grace. His compassion is our help.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 6 October 2002

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell