Posted by: toddzilla | January 23, 2007

Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You?

In our last youth meeting, the lesson involved studying love and how we as Christians show love.  Showing love involves giving day-to-day love to people we know and meet and on top of that, deciphering who needs a little  “extra” love.  The “detectors” that we use to determine this are empathy and compassion.  I’ve written before about the fact that we tend to view the world through our own eyes and that we remain encased in our own “worlds” and this leads us to judge other without the proverbial “walking a mile in their shoes”.  Life gives us certain experiences that help our compassion by giving us understanding of the lives of others.  It may be from the arts like music or performance and visual arts.  Take the music of Merle Haggard for a working man’s perspective or Run DMC for an idea of living in Hollis Queens. 

I know this will sound silly, but one of the ways that I gain perspective into the lives and motivations of others (and I actually used this in teaching love to my youth small group that night) is the show “Cops”.  I know, its a crazy show and some times I watch and laugh or just shake my head.  But oftentimes it gives me that insight that I need to understand a little bit more about the struggles of the lives that aren’t as sheltered as mine and the results of poor decisions and even the fact that some decisions are forced on them.  This helps me not to judge others as much.  There was a lady on the show this week who was in her late 40’s riding a bike to a casino.  The cop pulled her over for not having a light or something, but I’m sure he knew she was “hooking”.  Come to find out she was dealing meth and crack.  she was dressed nicely and looked respectful save for the obvious lines on her face from the meth.  you know the “skull” face that meth use gives you.  Well, she had her drivers license on her that was taken less than 5 years prior and she looked so healthy.  Here she is now…going to jail…again.  It made me wonder…why in the world would a lady like her get caught up in meth and crack???  What drove that decision?  Look where it got her.

They show dealers and pushers and users all the time.  The prostitutes they show definitely do not look like what we’ve been taught by other shows.  These women are strung out and it shows!  They need that dope that bad…and the men that buy what these ladies are selling are strung out with their sexual needs…obviously.  It’s a vicious cycle and we dismiss it so easily as the results of the decisions that these people have made, but what led them to make those decisions?  Family situation, race, class or peer pressure?  Those are easy to put forth as “answers”, but are they right?  How much do we know to be able to throw that judgment out like that?

If you get a chance, watch “Cops”.  You will get a good laugh and you will shake your head in disbelief.  You will wonder why a mother or father would do those things as they are cuffed and led away with their spouse holding a child.  but in all the craziness ask yourself…why did they start this downward spiral?  What happened?  What part of their life situation led them to this?  Sure, a lot of it will be that these people seek to make these decisions, but sometimes there will be an incident on the show that will leave you wondering…how could it get so bad?

I guess the mere act of thinking about these things and asking deper questions is a good start to gaining and building empathy and compassion and that’s a good start on the “love” part of your Christian journey.

Tell me some shows, book, music, plays, or whatever that helps give you better perspective, understanding, and compassion.   does Gilmore Girls do this?  24 aside from the Jack Bauer/Christ comparison?


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