Being There In The Crisis (1)
You say, ‘It’s not my responsibility. I’m not getting involved!’ Psychologists call this ‘compassionate disengagement’, the tendency to avoid helping someone in trouble. Whether your motivation is inconvenience, self-protection, or indifference, it’s wrong. ‘Being there’ is how you demonstrate your love for God and your neighbour. And helping requires recognising three kinds of crises:
(1) Accidental or situational crises. These involve things like sudden threats to our well-being, disruptive events, unexpected losses, the discovery of a serious illness, the death of a loved one, a famili breakdown, the loss of your job or security. Job experienced all these events together at the same time and wondered why God had allowed so many bad things to happen to him.
(2) Developmental crises. These occur in the course of everyday life. Moving house or village, leaving home to study, adjusting to marriage, parenting, retirement, ageing, illness, and the loss of friends. Abraham and Sarah moved many times. They also endured years of childlessness and famili stress, including the challenge of God’s request that they sacrifice their only son, the child of destiny—Isaac.
(3) Existential crises or things about ourselves. These are when we face disturbing truths about ourselves. You may see yourself as a failure, struggle with becoming divorced or widowed, learn that your illness is incurable, experience rejection because of your race, class, age, or gender, or realise you are getting too old to fulfil your life goals. True ‘helpers’ understand such crises, get involved, and encourage wantoks in distress. They keep their eyes open, and are quick to ‘offer comfort to the sorrowing.’