The past couple of weeks have been heartbreaking. The news is so heavy right now. Praying for everyone affected. In this post, I am sharing two podcast episodes of the Gina Duke Show. One is a message direct from God about how to view these most current events and the other is much more light-hearted, and definitely first-world living. In the end, we must keep on going, keep on living, keep on loving… but first God wants you to know what NOT to do when the World News Looks dire.
God Wants You to Know What NOT to Do When World News Looks Dire
A pastor once told a story of a woman who took her first mission trip. They arrived at a village and was escorted into a building where a meal had been prepared for their them. The building had many windows, and local villagers looked into the windows watching the mission team eat their meal, while they too were hungry. The woman began to weep over the hungry souls peeping in the windows and she refused to eat in front of them. The pastor reasoned with her to eat her meal so that she could be of service to this group of villagers for the next week. He assured her that they were going to feed those hungry people next. The mission team had to have sustenance so that they could minister to this village with food and Jesus. It was imperative that she took care of herself so she could be of use to the mission team so they could complete their mission.
This woman’s experience resonated with me because I may have very well reacted the same way had I been there. I might just stand there and cry, as I look upon these pitiful people’s dire circumstances. This is the problematic impediment that pity causes for people who otherwise may be productive. Our perceived limited power over this daunting scenario creates a lack of obligation.
This is when the Lord pointed out to me that this type of pity is not a helpful emotion.
At emotiontypology.com they describe Pity as feeling bad for someone else, because they are in an unfortunate situation, or at least, in a situation that is worse than your own. … However, feelings of pity can also lead to the thought that there is too much suffering in the world for one person to change, and consequently, inaction
Pity is more of a spectator sport compared to empathy.
Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. – we love others as ourselves.
Pity: feel sorrow for the misfortunes of others (self over others)
Remember the woman on the mission field overcome with grief? Had she continued to wallow in her feelings, she would’ve been of no help to those who needed it.
Today, I am talking about problematic pity (you can click on the image to the left to listen in on this podcast episode). You will find pity in the Bible that means compassion in various forms. You will also find pity in scripture that leads to people’s inaction – that’s the one we are discussing today.
You know that pity can lead to inaction because that’s what happens when we have a pity party. Have you ever had a pity party, which happens when you typically feel self-pity over your own circumstances? How many times have you felt like doing something when you are in the middle of a pity party? You don’t. And I am not going to try to talk you out of having a pity party for yourself either because sometimes we do need to privately retreat, relieve the pent up emotion, pour our souls out, empty our worry but we can’t live there and we can’t apply problematic pity to others’ situations because it is just not helpful.
You know, It’s rare that within such a compressed period of time will we see so much desperation and devastation as we did last week. There is a Japanese term Gemba which basically means “the real place” and the use of it in problem-solving implies you should go see what happened in the actual place. So if there was a process failure in a production area in a manufacturing facility, you don’t just discuss and try to problem solve from an office without going to see the real place where it happened for yourself, in hopes to getting to the root cause so you can plan for the improvement. And the news has certainly helped us go see the real places of this world this past week. And it was a bit much. We have fires, hurricanes, Afghans falling from moving planes and drownings in Waverly TN from flooding with Gut wrenching stories of people losing their children from their arms. Now we have a devastating death toll in Afghanistan – Jesus be near!
Now why I am bringing all this up? Here’s the deal: We can become so traumatized by others trauma that we will actually do nothing. This Problematic Pity does not move people to action; it actually become an impediment.
So what do we do with what we have seen this past week? How does God want us to respond?
- Prayer – We can all start here. Problematic Pity stops short of prayer because it focuses on our own sadness toward these situations. Prayer says God you’ve got a plan and I am trusting you. We can diligently pray for those things we cannot help.
- Give – A company in my town has set up a truck to collect basic items for those suffering in my backyard of Waverly TN. I plan to do that.
- And sometimes we can Help a situation more directly –
I think about Allyson Reneau, a mom of 11 who graduated from Harvard in 2016 with a masters in international relations and U.S. space policy, who was critical to rescuing 10 Afghan girls, ages 16-18, on a robotics team that she met in 2019. She found a way to help them using her connections, and her courage.
So, as we look at desperate situations, let us not default to problematic pity that impedes action. As faith-filled female leaders may we look beyond the pain and suffering of others to a God who is able, who is in control, who is sovereign who is just and right in all His ways. We see a God who gave His Son Jesus so that we may have eternal life where there will be no more suffering, no more tears and no more pain. And to that we say come Lord Jesus Come!
On a Lighter Note – We Are at the End of a Season
You will want to get in on this mini planning session of the week! We are not only approaching an end to a month, but also, the end of a season! My… 2021 is going by quick! There is one thing that I’ve finally been able to do at the end of each season that makes me feel like a real adult, and I am sharing it in today’s episode. Hint: It includes shopping!!! So grab your planner and one of your last ice cream sandwiches for this mini planning session! You can click on the image to your left to listen to this episode of the Gina Duke Show!
Here are my links for this episode! These are affiliate links where I make a small commission on your purchases. Thank you!
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