Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Statistical Threshold of Compassion

For example, if you bring up domestic abuse against women, someone will raise the point that men are also abused by their wives. However, pointing out abuse against women is not a denial of abuse against men. Folks, this is not a binary choice. But what ends up happening is the validity of the studies becomes the subject of debate. The discussion becomes theoretical, and people fall through the cracks.

 

If I had lost a loved one in an airplane crash, would it be helpful to tell me that there are greater odds for dying in automobile accidents? Would that give me greater comfort knowing that my loss was not as statistically significant? Hardly. This would be callous and cruel.

Then why do we trot out statistics when someone raises issues of human suffering? For example, if you bring up domestic abuse against women, someone will raise the point that men are also abused by their wives. However, pointing out abuse against women is not a denial of abuse against men. Folks, this is not a binary choice. But what ends up happening is the validity of the studies becomes the subject of debate. The discussion becomes theoretical, and people fall through the cracks.

Why do we do this? Is there some numerical threshold that needs to be crossed? If I can prove that X number of people have suffered this plight, then it is worth considering? I’ve seen this play out in social media over a variety of concerns including racial issues. Only in that case, rather than making the issue binary, it becomes an “everything regarding this highly complex issue must be dealt with all at once before you are allowed to care about one aspect.” Just my observation.

Would we act this same way in the local church?

If I approached a brother or sister and shared with them my past or present suffering, would I need to prove it? Would I need a note from a counselor? Would the church take a vote as to whether they felt my suffering was valid or just in my own mind?

But then what does it say about our care for our brothers and sisters if the assumption is that they are “crying wolf?” Why would a person already hurting open themselves up to skepticism or outright distrust and potential shaming by coming forward and sharing their pain? Love one another if you give me a good reason? What is this ultimately saying about our hearts?

We should weep with those who weep. Not just with those who can given a statistical argument as to why they have a reason to cry.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
1 John 3:16-17 (KJV)

Persis Lorenti is an ordinary Christian. You can find her at Tried With Fire and Out of the OrdinaryThis article appeared on her blog and is used with permission.

The post The Statistical Threshold of Compassion appeared first on The Aquila Report.



No comments:

Post a Comment