REAL HEROES                                                                                                                            Andy Hollifield 12-2-17

Jude 1:22-23 And of some have compassion, making a difference: (23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Mark 9:22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.

Luke 10:33-35 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, (34) And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (35) And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Just the simple act of having compassion. These verses demonstrate and define people who are capable of having compassion. I know that I have not listed them all in scriptural order but verse 22 in Jude shows that ANYONE can, and is supposed to have compassion on those that are in trouble. Mark 9:22 shows the compassion of JESUS on a young man who was possessed with an evil spirit. Luke 10:33-35 shows that even the LEAST LIKELY person can have compassion and make a difference in a stranger’s life. And finally, Luke 15 shows a FATHER having compassion on his son even though the son had done absolutely nothing to deserve it.

I have sometimes wondered why it was the father, and not the mother, that the bible speaks of but I think I may know three possible reasons. This is strictly Andyology, but it could have been because the father had been the one that had given the boy the inheritance and he was the one that had suffered the most financially. And it was also the father’s name that the boy had drug through the mud while off in a far country. The third possible reason is because when it comes to family matters such as this, a father is prone to think with his head while a mom often times thinks with her heart. The mom would have likely been the first to welcome her baby boy home while the father would have typically had to think it through and come to a conclusion. I am not knocking a mother’s way of thinking and I thank God that he made moms that way.

Luke 10 tells us the story of the “good Samaritan.” We all like to use the term and make reference to the story but we are often a lot slower to put the principle of the story into practice. It seems that we are often more likely to determine whether or not we have compassion based on, skin color, nationality, social standing, or simply someone’s lot in life so to speak. To see, much less to have, the blind compassion that the Samaritan had is indeed a rare thing. Do you realize that this Samaritan was in all likelihood, hated by the man he rescued because that was the culture at the time. Had the Jewish man been conscious at the time, he might have even refused help from this Samaritan man who demonstrated the ultimate compassion in abandoning his own preconceived notions and attitudes in order to give another human being the help that was needed when he couldn’t help himself.

Mark 9:22 illustrates a story that is much more acceptable to us because it is the Lord having compassion. We expect it out of him because he is God and God is love. Having an autistic son, I can in a small way, relate to this father in regards to having a son that can’t control some of his actions or can’t be controlled at times. The moral of the story though, is not the boys behavior but more the father’s request for his son’s well-being and his own unbelief. This father was, as we would say, at his wit’s end. He had all but given up on the situation ever changing. Coming to Jesus was a last act of desperation on the part of a father that was willing to try anything to preserve the life of his son.

The last scripture in Jude warns us of the conduct, desires, and motives of others. He is speaking in his letter to the church about people in the church. We are certainly seeing what he spoke of today. We live in a day when church has become a social club and only a place to “hook up” with the opposite sex. It is often a place where ungodly men of all ages come “trolling” for lack of a better term, for a good godly woman. They want one because of the woman’s high moral standards which increases the likelihood of her being faithful. Their motives are sensual and lustful desiring only to fulfil the needs and desires of the flesh. I know it happens in both sexes and women are often looking for a “sugar daddy” that they can count on to be faithful and provide for them regardless of their own unfaithfulness. We are definitely living in that time but Jude is cautioning the “saints” that we are to behave differently and godly regardless of societal pressures and expectations.

The reason I am writing this today is because I have spent the last week in the company of some of the most compassionate men and women that anyone could ever hope to meet. I have been delivering the H.O.P.E. Ministries Christmas shoeboxes to crisis pregnancy centers and domestic violence shelters as well as schools and a few other agencies. In each of these places I found men and women that look, without judgment or bias, to find the needs of those they are there to help. No chastisement or berating because of obvious bad decisions, but just a desire to help someone, lying in the ditch or wallowing in the hogpen of life, lift themselves up and out of their particular circumstances. Some of these same ladies that come to these centers and shelters, are those godly girls that have been deceived by ungodly men into a life of sensuality and lusts instead of the love and admiration they had thought they were getting. Others have never made it that far before finding themselves in dire straits. Some have given themselves to someone who may not of had the love for them that they had professed to. Then, when the news of a child came to their ears, quite often they have refused to take responsibility for their actions leaving only the women to deal with the fallout. Some folks are just ravaged by poverty, some but not all, due to circumstances beyond their control. Others have been victims of their own bad decisions and tried drugs or alcohol for a little bit of fun. They thought they were taking a bite of the apple of life not realizing that the apple would bite back. Their one-time decision may have resulted in losing their homes and/or families. All of these various folks single decisions have resulted in children or families or even the goals and plans for their own lives, falling victim to the consequences of those bad decisions. Nobody sets out in life to become a drug addict or alcoholic. No woman plans to marry an abusive man who will threaten not only her life but also her children’s lives. They don’t get married with aspirations of throwing a few clothes in a backpack and fleeing for their lives with their children while the man is gone or maybe just asleep. That wasn’t what they had pictured their lives would be. And lastly, no woman plans on being a single mother and wants to struggle to provide food, shelter, and healthcare to a little one that is totally dependant on them for their survival. That has never been the goal of any woman who finds herself with an unplanned pregnancy.

We as a society, love to throw the word “hero” around far too often and ascribe it to far too many people who don’t meet the qualifications. By far, the first and most important definition of a hero according to is “a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character.” That would certainly, in my opinion, be appropriate for the folks I have been privileged to be around this week. They are, at the very least noble, and in a lot of cases very courageous. These are people who have “fell on the neck” of their clients and had compassion when no one else would whether or not they were deserving of it. They are, in some cases, people that have been where their clients are or at least recognize the innocence of the children that are in no way responsible for their current circumstances. Some of these people fill the role of parents and friends to folks that have lost their way while others save their clients with fear, talking them off of the ledge so to speak, pulling them back from the very edge of disaster in their lives. Others just step in and selflessly fill whatever gaps are in front of them in the lives of their clients. These people all have two things in common. First, are the qualifications of a hero and second is their unwillingness to judge their clients just as the father and the Samaritan and Jesus were unwilling to let their actions be determined by personal judgments. Oh yeah; one more thing that all of these folks all have in common: they wouldn’t dare claim to be and wouldn’t willingly accept the title of hero. But, in the lives of those they serve; they are REAL HEROES. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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