One charge often leveled against Christians is that we are not compassionate towards others. This often comes up in discussions around gay marriage, abortion, national healthcare, and social security and other entitlement programs. Usually there is a complaint about how Christians are supposed to show others love and then go and demonstrate the opposite by opposing abortion, gay marriage, and entitlement programs designed to help the least fortunate of society. Why do those Christians just do not care about others? They obviously lack compassion.
Indeed, the Bible is very clear calling for compassion by Christians. That is what makes such a charge effective. No Christian wants to be thought of as not being compassionate. There are many clear passages in the Bible about compassion. Here are some examples of what Bible teaches about compassion:
- Galatians 6:2 states “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
- 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 states “So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part
- suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
- 1 John 3:17 says “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
The Bible calls individuals to react in situations in a way that demonstrates and reflects the love of Christ to others. But this has been changed by progressives from a call to individuals to help others to being a call to government to regulate our lives to achieve a compassionate society. These progressives honestly believe if they pass, tweak, update, and expand enough laws, that human behavior will change and society will eliminate injustice and and achieve tolerance and compassion. That viewpoint ignores the sinful nature of man. The Christian perspective is that we cannot sufficiently change ourselves to save us from ourselves. Indeed, only the sacrifice of Christ can save us. We can never be perfect enough, holy enough, legislate laws precisely enough to achieve a society free from injustice.
The response to the charge that Christians lack compassion is not to debate the worthiness of any law on how much is helps any person or group but to redirect the discussion to if the compassion we are being challenged by the Bible to demonstrate is compassion as individuals or as a society. If the person states we are challenged to make society more compassionate, then the next question is to ask what is the finish line? What is a sufficiently compassionate society? We already know all the laws tried do not work. Has the Great Society implemented by President Johnson eliminated poverty? Has racism been defeated by racial hate crime laws and racial preferences? I am confident they will agree we as a society are not there yet in terms of justice and compassion. Then ask them why they do not accept that imperfect laws created by imperfect people will always have imperfect results? I believe that we can never reach the finish line of a just and compassionate society by creating and tweaking and enforcing laws.
The response will generally be something along the lines that not helping will leave others worse off. That you should not ignore the plight of others. I agree with that perspective. We should not ignore others. We should choose through our own free will our individual response to the human condition. By enforcing through passing laws compassionate appearing behavior, the net result is to deny our free will choice to choose the genuine compassion we are called as individuals to demonstrate. That is why progressives usually lag far behind on individual charitable contributions then many Christians since they believe compassion is to be implemented and enforced through laws applied to all of society and not by individuals exercising free will. So the true question is not why do Christians lack compassion but rather if you are going to quote Biblical compassion as a requirement for Christians, why do you not also recognize it is being asked for us to follow as individuals and not as a society? Society has no eternal soul to save. Individuals do.
And then be prepared to discuss how you as an individual are showing compassion.
A related discussion on individualism and selfishness.