Everyone is an expert and no one has a soul.

While holed up in an attic for two years of her short life, Anne Frank famously penned in her diary, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” And I really want to believe that. The eternal optimist in me who sees the potential for good in even the worst of people—I cried when Osama bin Laden was killed and I will always shed tears when the death penalty is carried out—really wants to believe that. But lately, you guys, if I’m being honest, I really just don’t know.

Seems that you can’t jump on Facebook or read a news story on CNN or hear about a tragedy without being assaulted by the reality that people, well, they can just be plain mean. Judgmental. Hateful. Flat out cruel.

For the love, FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS, what has happened?

Now, I realize this is nothing new under the sun, as nothing really is. But with social media, 24/7 news cycles, and the internet so close to our fingertips that our thoughts give birth to publicized opinions the moment they are conceived, suddenly the exposure to the meanness has soared a few gazillion notches, and the feeling-freeness to verbally vomit is at an all-time high in human history.

And all of a sudden we have a new phenomenon that is bound to obliterate any trace of compassion and empathy and bring humanity to its basest, most uncaring state: Because now, everyone is an expert. On EVERYTHING.

Every blogger has a theory. Every Twitterer has a thought. Every Facebooker has an opinion. On EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Heck, we’re even experts concerning, or most especially concerning, situations and circumstances with which we have a total of, well, absolutely zero personal experience whatsoever.

Check it out:

Courtesy of the horrific revelations about the Duggar family, everyone is now an expert on sexual abuse within a family—except most of us won’t deal with that. Jim Bob and Michelle are neglectful, horrible parents who covered up abuse to protect their image and make a buck or two, so say the masses. And now we’re all experts on large families, homeschoolers, those too religious, and those who don’t believe in birth control—except we’re not.

Courtesy of Bruce Jenner’s public transformation into Caitlyn, everyone is now an expert about the struggles of a transgender individual—except most of us won’t deal with that. He/She will always be a man, isn’t really a woman, is simply an attention whore. And now we’re all experts on the causes, the sinfulness, the angst, the inner turmoil—except we’re not.

Baby dies after being left in a hot car? The mom is selfish, pathetic, and deserves to have her children taken away. And we’re all experts on responsible parenting—except we’re not.

A woman is killed by a lion through an open window during a photographic safari? Even though she was an accomplished 29-year-old who traveled to South Africa to raise money for anti-poaching organizations, she’s clearly a total idiot who had it coming, survival of the fittest had its way, and she deserved to die for ignoring the posted warnings. And now we’re all experts on safety on safaris—except we’re not.

Mexican immigrants die while trying to cross the border into freedom? They are law-breakers with no respect for the rules. And we’re all experts on the plight of the poor foreigner—except we’re not.

Those in poverty use food stamps to pay for soda? They are lazy, good-for-nothing leeches who are milking the system and duping taxpayers. And we’re all experts on the struggles of generational poverty—except we’re not.

A 20-something-year-old texts while driving and kills his best friend in the passenger seat? He deserves to rot in prison for taking his friend’s life due to his own selfishness and narcissism. And now we’re all experts on justice and retribution for those who text and drive—except we’re not. {But we are lucky hypocrites, that’s for sure.}

Today it’s one thing. Tomorrow it’ll be something else. And the day after that yet another thing altogether.

AND IT’S ALL CRAZY AND DOWNRIGHT ARROGANT AND ENTIRELY MEANINGLESS, because if everyone were really an expert on anything, we’d see far more compassion and way less chatter. Far more love and way less condemnation. Far more understanding and far fewer opinions.

Sexual abuse. Gender identity issues. Mental health struggles. Affairs. Suicide. Wayward children. Addictions. Those might not be what you’re facing today and might not have been part of your story. But one day something painful or horrific will take you by surprise and all of your prior know-it-allness will fall by the wayside and you’ll be flat on your face begging Jesus for mercy. And you’ll need it.

And you’ll fall into a heap when what the public is condemning is the very tragedy you’re presently facing. You’ll eat your words when the judgment you meted out eats you up inside. You won’t have a safe place to fall into when it’s your child who made the awful choice. When it’s your husband who committed the crime. When it’s your loved one who had the affair. Who broke the law. Who succumbed to addiction. Who suffered from post-partum psychosis. Who was conquered by mental illness and took his own life. Who fell asleep at the wheel and killed a bystander.

You’ll be humbled by your own arrogance when it’s your son who feels like a girl. When it’s your daughter who tells you she’s a lesbian. When it’s your brother convicted for child molestation. When it’s your husband outed as a pedophile. When it’s your dad busted for embezzlement. When it’s your sister who left your niece in the hot car.

Caution

The day will come. It always does. And woe to the “experts” on that day.

When you’re in your own desert, your own wasteland, your lips parched and your mouth dry, begging for just a drop of water to touch your tongue. Only none will come. And you’ll regret every time you failed to spare some for another. Your misery will be compounded by your lack of compassion for others. Your pain will be expounded by your own piety in the past. And your hypocrisy will hound you as you hunker down in humility—humility forced upon you not by your own choosing but by an unforeseen tragedy.

“So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.” –Isaiah 5:15

So STOP your judgment, your ridicule, your demeaning of others’ misery. STOP blogging as if you know. STOP stating your opinion as if it’s the truth in stone. STOP using your words to elevate your pedestal. STOP preaching as if you have the expertise. STOP the self-promotion and self-righteous stances. Shut up with your sanctified sermons about struggles you don’t face and deal with your own hidden sins and secret sorrows. Get off your moral high horse and actually kneel down to wash the feet of those dirtied and blistered by life—yes, even by their own foolish choices.

Instead? Reach down and grab the hand of one more vulnerable. Someone in pain. Someone who needs to know they’re not alone. Offer solidarity. Offer hope. Offer healing and freedom and acceptance and safety.

Hands Compassion

And be mercy.

Be love.

Be Jesus.

We’re not all experts, that’s for sure. But we’re all in need. Every last one of us.

O, Compassion, where art thou?

 

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. –Psalm 112:4

“Here are the values I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.”
–Ellen Degeneres

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “O, Compassion, where art thou?

  1. Tamber Sherman

    SO very true, Heidi! How lucky we are that we are not called on to judge! Only love. Be humble and be kind my friends and I guarantee you’ll be happier!

    Reply

  2. Debbie

    I totally agree! We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus and not the judge!! Leave that to God! Show love and respect and be friends to those whom things going on in their life! You never know when your friendship is what will carry them!

    Reply

  3. kitty

    So much irony. You give your opinion that others have too many opinions. You judge those who you deem judgmental. You decry the loss of compassion while seemingly anticipating the day the haters get what’s coming to them. Let’s face it, people have opinions and make judgments. While jugdging a person’s salvation and relationship with God is off limits, judging actions and behavior is necessary and natural. Let us pray for discernment and right judgments.

    Reply

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