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Altruism is hot

First of all, what is altruism?   Unselfish concern for others well-being.  Selflessness.


Right now, altruism is at an all time high.  Who doesn’t want to help with world hunger?  Who isn’t willing to donate $10, $20 or more to Red Cross to aid relief in Japan?   Who doesn’t have a sponsor child these days?  Most people, in general, express genuine concern for the welfare of others.    You don’t need to be someone with “faith” to be acting on these pressing issues.   Altruism is being expressed by people of varying faith views and walks of life.


I want to direct my attention in this blog to my fellow mommas who have some degree of faith in God. (and if you’re not a momma, or a woman, or a person of faith for that matter, you can still read the blog! haha)


Moms, and women in general, easily lean towards compassion.  We are moved by poverty.  We can’t stand to see a child without a home.  We are moved with passion towards injustice.  We cry at seeing a dolphin on a commercial for heaven’s sake (you HAVEN’T?  Am I the only one??)  We are advocates of the broken.  It’s a part of our DNA as women.  It’s what drives us to “get the job done”.


Did anyone watch “The Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock?  GREAT movie!  I don’t know one person who has watched it that didn’t love it.   However, after watching that movie, I was restless within myself.  Let me tell you why.


First, I was extremely challenged.  Like, EXTREMELY.  I felt this question hit me strait in the face: “Would you do the same?”    Ummm….. well…. it would depend if he seemed like a nice enough kid.   It would depend if we could afford it.  It would depend if it was a convenient time in our lives – I mean, it’d be hard with having such young kids at home….


You know what I discovered about myself when confronted with that question?   I have a TON of excuses why I probably wouldn’t, I mean COULDN’T.   Of course I WANT to!  But all the logical reasons of why NOT would out-weigh the apparent need standing directly in front of me.


Here’s a hard truth to swallow: when a need presents itself to us, it will most likely never be at a “convenient” moment in our lives.  We probably won’t have “enough money” (even though we can afford a $5 coffee every day….)   Everything about our present situation will scream; “You can’t do anything about it”.


I think about what would have happened if Sandra Bullock’s character wouldn’t have acted?   Look at what that young man turned into!   If only I’d be willing to live out what altruism really means: selflessness.


You see, the problem with our fallen nature is that we want to help people IF it fits.  IF we have enough money to give but also have what we want.   I’ll help, but only if I can still buy my daily starbucks, have my extra spending cash for the mall, still be able to get to the cottage every summer, not have to give up what I want…..


This sickens me about myself.  I’m at constant war with what I want to do and what I ACTUALLY do.    I need to take action, or a year, 2 years, 10 years will go by and I will still be in the same place: WANTING to make a difference but still coming up with all sorts of reasons why I can’t.


But at least I’ll have had my starbucks every day…..


The meditation of your heart will determine the motivation of your life. – Chari Gambill


Categories: Getting missional
  1. Carrie
    April 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    So then if we offer charity when it fits does it then negate the real aspect of Altruism? As part of that whole picture is the unselfish part were we give without a expectation to receive like Paul says he does what he does out of a compulsion.
    I agree with you Connie that mothers are often very compassionate people and see that it can be within the nature of womanhood. Woman can also be very fierce an example is seen in “The Blind Side” when Sandra B. goes after those young people. In her perspective(a perspective I see as well) they were a threat. I think the problem may come when our perspective shifts from the fathers perspective to a small perspectives. Kind of the difference from Macro to micro economics. I need to see the large picture the overall and the only way to get that is the grasp onto a source of true wisdom and insight. I like Keith Greens words “Make my life a prayer to you
    I wanna do what you want me to No empty words and no white lies No token prayers no compromise.”
    I have enjoyed reading your Blog.

  2. April 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Wow, I appreciate the honesty in the questions you pose. As a father of two daughters under the age of four, I find myself increasingly guarded against anything that could pose a risk to their general well-being. That being said, my grid for evaluating “risky opportunities” (i.e., becoming foster parents, adopting a child that is a few years older) is all the more stringent, and perhaps more restrictive. As a Christ-follower I know that I still need to keep a pliable heart before Him in case He were to lead me in a direction that would seem contrary to my own frame-of-mind.

    Thanks again for provoking some great thoughts!

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