Is There Room For Compassion?
Something I hear quite often, when helping people with their credit, is that the circumstances should be take into account, that it is not fair to penalize someone for something that was, for the most part out of their control.
This isn’t unique to credit, I hear similar comments in conversations relating to race relations, illegal immigration, responsibility to work or other organizations, and so on, with respect to accepting behavior that is socially unacceptable, irresponsible or even illegal. I think, without assigning blame anywhere for a person’s problems, that when people say things like this, in these arenas or in credit, they are talking about a need for compassion.
There is no doubt in my mind that there is a serious need for compassion in the world. But I wonder if the concept of compassion in these cases is not very two dimensional and distorted. I say this because clearly the message being presented is one of acceptance as opposed to the real meaning of the word compassion.
Compassion is sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. The challenge is, that more often than not, people say that to have compassion we must demonstrate understanding and thereby tolerate or accept behavior that stems from those sufferings or misfortunes. In fact, for many, acceptance or tolerance is not enough and the behavior should be seen as okay or even right.
An example of this would be to say that to enter a country illegally is permissible if you have a bad circumstance in your life motivating you to act in such a way. Further, it is heartless and inhuman to consider making people in such circumstances leave the country, as would be required by law.
Another example would be rioting, looting, burning of businesses and shooting police officers being justified by saying there is an underlying suffering or misfortune that is taking place (often to someone other than the perpetrators), and that the crime is not the rioting, looting, burning and shooting, but something else, and to have a problem with these behaviors is racist, heartless and inhuman.
Another example would be to, in the spirit of compassion, rack up an astronomical amount of debt for a person or many people, that could never be repaid in their lifetime or multiple lifetimes, under the guise of providing them with some level of help now, as our federal government has the want to do. Those who speak or act against such efforts are labeled as lacking compassion, heartless and inhuman. (I hear the heartless and inhuman comments a great deal of the time.)
Are you seeing a pattern here? I hope you can see more than one. Here are just a few I see.
I see people who are facing suffering or misfortune choosing to respond to those circumstances by breaking the law.
I see outsiders, meaning those who are not directly confronted with the misfortune or suffering that is the subject of compassion, trying to shift blame for the behavior onto someone else and create a “victim”.
I see, those same people trying to make that unethical, immoral or illegal behavior acceptable, or even okay or the right thing to do.
Then I see a pattern of those people addressing the problem in the way that will benefit or profit them the most, instead of from a perspective of legitimately solving the problem from all sides.
I see that, in the name of demonstrating compassion, these patterns dictate there can be only one side – the side of the “victim”.
But the reality is something far different.
The reality is that to be compassionate we need to recognize that the blame for our situations must first be levied against ourselves. There is always some outside influence, but we are responsible for the vast majority of the decisions that lead to the situations we find ourselves in. We are not really “victims” in most cases.
Since we are not victims, then we are accountable of our choices.
If someone wants to escape the situation in the country they live in and immigrate to the United States, for example, there is a proper way to do that. There may be problems that arise on both sides of the equation. Some people are not acceptable candidates for entry into the country. Sometimes the system in place to properly facilitate immigration is broken and needs repair. Ignoring the problem and breaking the law is not a good option. In the spirit of compassion those who would help should seek to help solve the problem, not facilitate rewarding illegal behavior.
(For the record, I have tremendous respect for someone who is willing to leave their home and comfort zone and risk their life and imprisonment by going to another country, to try to provide a better life for their family. There are a lot of Americans that just blame someone else for their situation and won’t get off their butts to do anything for themselves but apply for assistance, and expect the government to take care of them. But that said, breaking the law is not the answer.)
In cases where we have seen rioting, looting, burning businesses and targeting police officers for execution over race relations, for example, if we look closely we will see that the vast majority of those who have taken part in those acts have not been the ones who actually suffered to any great degree or faced great misfortune at the hands of white police officers. They are just along for the ride on the mob mentality wave. There is little or no discussion of the larger problems that have little or nothing to do with people outside of their neighborhoods. Instead, people choose a terribly destructive behavior that virtually ensures that the problems will only get worse on all levels. Those leaders that promote, condone or justify such behavior act out of greed not compassion. What’s worse, is that such behavior nearly eliminates the capacity for compassion from most outsiders, because the acts are by choice, not beyond control.
In another example, the same can be said for government leaders, and those who support them, that would spend outrageous amounts of money to provide a little to a few as social programs and in doing so saddle those they are helping, and everyone else in the country, with a debt that could not be repaid in multiple lifetimes, even if we experienced prosperity at record levels for the entire time. It is similar to, in the name of compassion, mortgaging a person’s house for them to buy them dinner for a few weeks, but not only their house, but the house of everyone in the community as well, ultimately all for the sake of personal gain and getting re-elected.
That is not compassion. Real compassion seeks resolution and accountability. There are no victims in compassion, only those who are in need and those who see it, have pity and concern, and selflessly want to make a difference.
In demonstrating compassion we teach a man to fish, not reward him for stealing a fish, or charge everyone in the community the price of a fish to provide one fish for that man. We help people to rise from their situations and to facilitate demonstrating their compassion for others.
Compassion can’t be forced. Compassion does not in any way justify stealing or violence to others. Compassion is not dumping a impossible burden on those being helped, or anyone else for that matter, in the guise of helping them.
This brings me to how this relates to credit. Credit is about behavior and choices. Good choices and behavior get rewarded (good credit scores). Bad choices and behavior get penalized (bad credit scores). The lack of behavior in most cases will also get penalized.
Though there are many situations in life that can be out of our control, our choices determine if we are even in most of those situations and how significantly they will affect us. That means that we are not really victims. Our plans just didn’t work out the way we hoped, or we chose not to plan at all.
Compassion is there. I feel for those suffering from tough circumstances and the results of bad or poor choices they or others made. I have been one of those people who has made those choices before, most of us have.
But being compassionate doesn’t mean that we should just say those things don’t matter and the choices made are just fine. It also does not mean that it is unfair to have to be accountable for those choices.
We can say we understand why someone thought they should act that way, but it was not the right choice. It means we need to clean up the mess and look at what choices got us there. It means taking a significant level of responsibility for our situations and choosing a new path.
When we demonstrate compassion as it really is, mistakes get corrected, wrongs are made right and positive change happens. And when those changes happen, the rewards and penalties will take care of themselves.
I welcome your comments and and questions and encourage you to share this information with your contacts on social media.
If you are finding you have some problems with your credit scores or other elements of your credit, a reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration is a great place to turn for help. We at Heartland Credit Restoration care about your future and are all about helping people get positive control over their credit and realize their dreams.
If you have a client that you are going to have to turn away due to credit challenges, then I encourage you to give me a call. We can look at how Heartland Credit Restoration might be able to help you turn things around and get that credit loan ready. There isn’t a better company you can go to for help.
I will look forward to talking to you and I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!