Saturday, June 2, 2012

Voices of Compassion

Listening to the voice of God is to be sensitive to the stirrings of compassion in our society. As I read the inspiring interview with Mr Yeoh Lam Keong,  a former GIC chief economist, I am inspired as well as challenged by his spirit of compassion.

He has rightly drawn attention to the urgent need for large-scale social reform to face "a world where median wages are stagnating, inequality is rising sharply, our population ageing, our maturing economy is growing much more slowly." 'He felt that “the so-called social safety net was both undignified and insufficient. It was undignified where sufficient, or plain insufficient.

Dr. Tommy Koh has also noted that “the citizens of the world aspire to live in fair societies. One important aspect of fairness is the equitable distribution of income and wealth. This is the moral force behind the economic doctrine of inclusive growth. As a result of globalisation, technological change and domestic policies, many countries have become extremely unequal.”

These voices of compassion from nonbelievers opened my eyes to the truth that God works in amazing and totally unexpected ways. God is calling us to become communities of compassion. We read in the Acts of the Apostles of how the early disciples came together to form caring and sharing communities.

Such communities were the foundation of our democratic socialist societies. However, C.S. Lewis espoused the view that we need democracy in order to check the abuse of power that tends to occur because “mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.” In his view, it is dangerous to defend democracy on the grounds that “mankind is so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in the government.”

It is very difficult if not impossible to achieve radical social reform through political action. We need a spiritual revival. Such a spiritual revival must start with the spirit of repentance - the recognition of the evil of pride, greed, and lust within ourselves and our need for God's grace to live the compassionate life of our imperfect human nature:

The challenge before us is to become communities of faith where we can share the truth of life’s struggles in the spirit of love and forgiveness instead of wearing masks of perfect parents and perfect sons and daughters which gives the illusion that our families are places of “unbroken peace and harmony.”

Communities of faith are the small groups in which we meet together to celebrate our new life in Christ. We are to remind one another that we are a dearly loved child of God for whom Christ died and that God is in control of all things. 

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