Inside Out: Committed Compassion

09.27.17 | Martha Manikas-Foster

The president of a Christian humanitarian organization believes American Christians can be fickle with our compassion. We give and pray to help solve one crisis, but then often drop that cause when we see people in misery somewhere else.  

“It tugs at our heart because we see suffering people so we want to give, and that’s very appropriate,” says Richard Stearns, president of World Vision’s national office in the United States. 

But while the compassion is appropriate, Stearns suggests we’re prone to what he calls “Cause ADD.” 

“We’ve got to be, I guess, grownups about how we act in the world and what we care about,” he says. 

That’s because preventing starvation in Africa, working against the child sex trade, and trying to end other suffering in the world will take many people working over many years. That’s going to take many people praying for and funding that work over the long haul. 

In this week’s Inside Out podcast Stearns suggests a way forward. 

Find something that you really care about in the world and stick with it, and don’t abandon it the minute there’s a hurricane in Texas or there’s an earthquake in Nepal. Stick with your cause.” 

Before you suggest that the president of World Vision has no concern for hurricane victims, note that World Vision is active in emergency relief as well as long-term development work.  We recorded our conversation after Hurricane Harvey, but World Vision is also bringing relief to those in the path of Hurricane Irma and the magnitude 8.1 earthquake in Mexico. 

It’s not a binary choice, because you can pick one or two or three things that you’re going to be committed to long-term, and you can still respond to catastrophes that happen very suddenly that require a lot of money.” 

Just click on the LISTEN or DOWNLOAD icon above to listen to our 20- minute conversation about committing to what he calls “the hard work in the hard places over the long haul.” 

You can also find out about some of that “long haul” work by learning more about World Vision.



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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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