Can our pity for the stranger actually get in the way of us loving them?
This is the thought that has been making a home in my mind this week. In the lead up to Christmas I witness a lot of people who feel especially sorry for those “less fortunate than them” at a time that many people experience as a joyful one. This is understandable and commendable and the result is a lot of charity.
Talking to a colleague this week I expressed a concern that this pity shown to a stranger at Christmas did not seem to often equate to a more concerted effort to befriend people experiencing disadvantage during the year. If it did so then, come Christmas, we would be able to provide support to a friend rather than charity to a stranger.
She challenged me that love for the stranger is a very humble and Biblical behaviour. So I am happy to concede I could be wrong. Feel free to contribute your thoughts in the comments below and in the meantime I will continue to ponder…
One thing I am sure of, however, is:
We must not let our feelings of pity get in the way of recognising, calling out and celebrating the gifts people have to contribute to our community.
Looking past the labels (poor, disabled, refugee) and considering the gifts (poet, chef, priest) is an important and ongoing exercise for all of us in community.
This Friday we (Faith in Action) will be running a workshop on discovering the opportunities and gifts we may be missing from refugees and other minority groups in our communities. I am looking forward to work shopping this with some individuals who are highly committed to and participating in this very work.
There is still space to join us if this interests you:
Details: Friday 28th November 2014
- 10-12noon Presentations and Discussion with speakers
- 12-1pm Conversation over shared lunch
- 1-3pm What principles are operating here and how might we apply them in our ministry setting?
- Venue – The Welcome Centre 100 Drayton Street, Bowden – the corner of Drayton Street and Hawker Street (look for the Activate SA building!)
More info HERE