last night i went to dinner with my girlfriends sam and stacy. we were 'celebrating' and saying good bye to stacy as she is going back to south asia to work with a human rights agency there. stacy has long been an inspiration to me in her compassion she possesses for all people. i have a huge tendency to judge and think 'people brought this on themselves' and 'if they wanted out of their bad situation they could get out'. i know this isn't always an accurate assessment of people's life conditions, but it is just how my sinful attitude goes sometimes. stacy, on the other hand, has always defended the people she comes in contact with; trying to understand their situations and show them love rather than pass undue judgement. her heart is so big and the Lord has used her (and will continue to use her) to show me the hurting world around me. on the way home, me and sam were talking about places we would like to live or visit someday. sam loves africa and has a burden for the children there. i expressed that at one time i too had a burden for the people of that continent. she asked why i didn't anymore and it really caused me to think. i replied that i think it's rooted in fear. fear that if i went there and saw what conditions the people there live in that my heart would break and i'd never get over it. i feel like anything i ever did would never be enough and i could never solve the situation myself so i had better just stay out of it and 'save' my heart. 'what a backwards thought' i said. sam replied with ' you may not be able to change the lives of all the people, but you may be able to change the life of one person'. wow. this is something i have heard so many times, and have probably said it myself, but it really hit me just then. changing one life for the better is worth my broken heart. Jesus' body was beaten and bruised beyond recognition for my life. though He did it for all mankind, He would have done it just for me. no questions asked, no blaming me for getting my life screwed up, just heartbreaking compassion and an intense desire to see me restored.
i can't say that i am moving to uganda tomorrow to build an HIV clinic, or that i am going to move to india to save girls from prostitution or give every penny i make to humanitarian organizations; but i understand now what is expected of my heart and that if i am called to reach out to the hurting i have to do it without hesitation. my fear is not an excuse for another person not getting to experience God's great compassion.