I’ve thought about removing my most recent post, “An angry outburst.”
I’m still tempted to do so, after having this thought bounce around in my head for 6 days or so, partly because the post is just that: an outburst of anger, written hastily and without much thought, born largely from some vague sense of injustice and wrong in the world, and of wasted resources, that both angers and saddens me. And I do think people, especially the majority of us Americans who can rightly be called wealthy, can and ought to do a lot more on the side of justice than many of us do. I know I’m implicating myself as well as anybody else in this.
But I also know that it’s sometimes more complicated than it seems, this business of trying to “help,” and that sometimes what seems like helping can actually aggravate the hurt in other, complicated and often unlooked for ways. I know that.
I also know that many people are doing something, or at least trying to, in order to rightly love their neighbors, whether those neighbors are local or global. Sometimes those stories don’t get told enough. It’s easy for me to focus exclusively on the negative, and forget to honor and encourage those who are already living justly, and seeking to learn from them as well.
And I also know that human anger, as righteous as it may seem at times, most often does not do much to actually change people’s hearts. I think this partly because of how I respond myself to others’ anger, and to what I often perceive as guilt-tripping endeavors. I don’t want to guilt-trip anyone. I don’t think that really works. Besides, many of us have heard stories or statistics before, have maybe had enough exposure to the world’s brokenness to become hardened and tempted, even, to despair of being able to advance justice at all. We know we’re supposed to care, but darn it, we’re tired, and we can’t care about everything, thank you very much, and so would you please stop expecting me to be a bleeding heart over every little thing? I. can’t. keep. listening!
There’s this notion that I’ve recently become aware of called compassion fatigue, that I’d be interested in learning more about. (Does anyone out there know something useful about this that they’d be willing to share with me?)
In light of all this and my last post, how about this instead? Instead of spitting an angry tirade out through the virtual subway system and into your home, office, or coffee shop corner, and maybe only making you angry too, either at me or “some people,” I’d like to encourage you:
If you’re already conscious of trying to live justly, if you are daily trying to love your neighbor, thank you for your example. Please, please continue, and forgive lunkheads like me who are too quick to jump to the pessimistic view of things. Keep going! Don’t grow weary or discouraged-your labor is not in vain. We need you. And please teach others (whether that would be a new thing or a continuation for you) to do likewise. I know I have a lot to learn-and I’m willing.
And if you happen to be someone to whom the notion of living justly is less familiar, I’d like to encourage you to give it some more thought. How do you use your resources? Do you use them in the sort of way you wish someone else would, if some positions were reversed, and you were the one experiencing great need, economically or socially or otherwise?
Peace, friends. Thanks for your patience with this foundling blog, and with this still-growing person trying to play the role of blogger well.
In the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ,