The driving force of the majority of the world today in many ways is rooted in a deep since of selfishness, greed, and intolerance, which tends to shape our motives to a singular word, “I”. Hence, when we see something happing that we know is wrong, which has a hint of danger to it, we stop and then ask, “What do I get out of this?” or “What if I get pulled into this conflict?” We tend to think it’s for our own protection that we do nothing when we see homeless people, the mentally ill, and the hungry, when they hold out their hands asking for help. In some instances they don’t ask, oddly leaving us with an empty, hollow whole within us which is quickly dismissed as we go about our busy day. I have even heard housewives talk about their feelings of disgust when, “that beggar held out his hand.” Or claim how scared they were, “I didn’t know if he was going to hurt me…he looked crazy.” Then in the same breath confess their allegiance to the church. I have seen men at work crack jokes about a dirty man on the street corner panhandling and how those people need to be put away or just get a job, discounting them as lazy or worthless. Then in the next breath thank God for a short day on Friday or that they got paid. How many times have we looked the other way? How many times have we made jokes about another man’s lack of good fortune?
Our own insecurities built up by many years of traditions and oral teaching which builds upon centuries of distrust, which in the end has severally tarnished the moral fibers of our society from within to the point we don’t help even if it is the right thing to do, even if it is a commandment from God the most powerful being in the universe. We don’t help our neighbors, friends, family, without first examining what is in it for me. I call this the self- first mentality, or sinister “I” generation, which is in every generation since before Jesus, infecting the human genome like a cancer. We are all guilty; we all face these overpowering emotions, teachings, and ideologies which help to drive our own needs to survive through greed and selfishness every single day. We pass it off with such callus comments as, “Someone else will do it.” If this false statement is true and someone else will do it, why haven’t the homeless be given a home, the sick made better, the hungry be feed? Yes, there are non-profit humane and religious organizations which do what they can, but they are few. If everyone follows the examples of Jesus Christ our lord and savior then there would be no hungry child, sick mother, or homeless family. So I humbly ask, “Who today will stand up and say I will help based upon faith alone?”
I humbly offer this example of Jesus’s character:
“24 Jesus went to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. 25 Soon a women whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoencian by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her,27 ‘Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.’ 28 She replied and said to him, ‘Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.’ 29 Then he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.’ 30 When the women went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone”(Mark, Chapter 7:24-30).
This condition of faith is exactly what Jesus was addressing with this woman. In this scripture Jesus is faced with a request for help from a non-Jew, who has shown incredible faith to come to him, a Jewish man. In examining this we also find that she as a woman was not allowed to confront a stranger, particularly a male, but did so anyway. She broke with tradition, centuries of teaching and did so based on her belief, which translates into faith that Jesus could do something for her child. Another prospective found in the bible on this topic of this woman, is found in Matthew, it reads as follows:
“21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.’ 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’24He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ 25The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. 26He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.’ 27 ’Yes, Lord,’ she said, ‘but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ 28Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour”(Matthew, Chapter 15:21-28).
In this portrayal of these events the disciples would have not helped her. Like any of us today, they did not want to get involved. Furthermore they asked for Jesus to send her away, citing that she was pestering them. I want to bring a light to this fact because it is very indicative to human behavior, and how Jesus dealt with it as a human being. In both stories Jesus is confronted with a request. This request comes from a woman, who is for all intense and purposes a non- Jew, or pagan. I also want to point out that this is not the first time a non-Jew, or a woman had asked Jesus for help; in fact he never turned them away when they came to him in this manner, faith first. Those who came to Jesus did so out of faith that he could do something for them. Thus, out of this [faith-driven-perceptive] was Jesus motivated to grant them mercy.
The other important aspect to this character trait of Jesus is his ability to ignore requests from his disciples. He did not have to help this woman, he owed her nothing, but he helped her anyway. He was not afraid to break rules and challenge beliefs of his generation. He respected this woman for doing the same for the right reasons. Again she came to him out of faith. She came to him out of compassion for her daughter.
So Faith is the first example Jesus set in stone that day. The second was compassion. Jesus was moved by her answer to his responses which was a test. Jesus tested her, as he tests each and every one of us today, not unlike we test our own children. In both stories he seems reluctant to get involve to the point his disciples urges him to not get involved. Her answer proved to him that she was coming from the right place, from faith first, then from compassion. This motivated Jesus to feel compassion for her. It is from this combination does Jesus work his miracles. Remember always when looking at Jesus as a human being he chose to come and save us, then he was born into the world. He accomplished his mission from a place of absolute faith in God. It was from this place God poured out his companion onto his son.
To exhibit these two qualities each and every person alive must first ask the question, “Do I have faith?” We need to ask ourselves “Why we should have faith?” When we say, ‘Yes’, that we do have faith, then we are really saying yes to God. Because whether we like it or not having faith is a pre-requisite to believing in God. The very existence of Jesus is our proof that God does exist, does care, does hear us, and is filled with compassion for us.
With compassion second Jesus poured out upon the women and her daughter his divine love. It is at this point I would like to highlight for the record that Jesus did not need to go to the child, lay hands on her, or perform any special ceremony and by doing this he set his last example of the power of faith. He healed the girl from long distance, based upon the faith of her mother. He did this as a direct response of the illustration of faith, which filled his heart with compassion, and the outcome was a miracle preformed out of love. As I have stated in past blogs love does not originate within our imperfect bodies, but rather is a gift from God. The chain of responses from God, unbroken, is the most powerful thing in creation. Faith + Compassion = LOVE. I illustrate it in a formula because trillions of people just don’t get it. They need to see before they believe. Having blind faith is out of the question.
“Even if your faith is no bigger than a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Lost Gospel Q, Q78, P113).
So perhaps if we first exhibit faith that all things are possible in the name of the Lord, and step in to help those who need it most, without question, then perhaps our hearts will become less callus and be filled with compassion, and then God would respond by filling us with his gift of love. We see within Jesus’ words and actions his true motivation to work his miracles, and to sacrifices so much for us, before he gave his own life on the cross. Through our faith, is God motivated by compassion, in return releasing his love.
If you have been moved by this blog, I humbly invite you to leave a comment, and may all your days be filled with peace, love, and God’s eternal joy.