Compassion Fatigue versus Compassion Overjoy

It is normal, in every disaster response when the duration of the crisis is prolonged, donors and relief workers alike develop what is commonly know as “Compassion Fatigue”. Watching and monitoring the heartbreaking results of the Syrian war can truly make us all feel helpless and hopeless at the same time. A six and a half year war has generated the worst humanitarian crises since WWII, and it is not over yet! Thus, more death and destruction occur on any given day. The United Nations considers that half of the Syrian population, (13,500,000 people) are in immediate need for humanitarian aid – shelter, food, medication…

So yes, compassion fatigue can easily creep in. It happens when donors wonder if their investments are making any difference, and when relief workers contemplate the value of providing aid when no end is in sight, where the needs are overwhelming and the resources are scarce.

Despite this bleak picture from a humanitarian perspective, allow me to share with you a whole different compassion terminology we have developed at Heart for Lebanon. Instead of talking about “compassion fatigue” we have learned to focus on what we call “compassion overjoy”. Our vision statement begins with “driven by the compassionate heart of Jesus Christ…” so what motivates us, what get us out of bed every morning, is Christ’s love for the world. What keeps us going is His unconditional love that redeemed the world and reconciled us with the Father. It is Christ’s love that sends us to the refugees with a renewed commitment everyday; a commitment to love, serve, care for, feed, educate, clothe… and share the Gospel with all.

The opportunity to share the Gospel openly and clearly is this God-size opportunity we never thought we would have. Simply put: this is our Esther moment of the Middle East. So how can we feel compassion fatigue when many are hearing about Jesus for the first time? Rather than fatigue we feel overjoyed to see many accepting Him as their personal savior and publicly declaring Christ as Lord over their lives and the lives of their families. This is a “compassion overjoy” season at Heart for Lebanon. We joyfully celebrate the converts that came from a Muslim-background but are now gathering every Sunday morning to worship the Lord freely and publicly. We cheerfully celebrate every baptism, every Bible study group, every discipleship class, and every conversion.

Friends, I am grateful for your partnership. Because of your faithful support we can celebrate lives changed and communities transformed. Thank you for your Christ-like compassionate heart.

Tired? Yes we are! This is normal. But NO, we are not pulled by compassion fatigue but rather we are filled with compassion overjoy. I invite you to join us in this season of celebration. We don’t celebrate the hardships that refugees have experienced. But rather, we celebrate the work God is doing in their lives. Join us in giving thanks to the Lord. He deserves all praise and honor. Join us in continually praying for the refugee communities from Syria and Iraq. Pray for our team to stay faithful to our mission to make disciples and focus on our God given mandate to love our neighbors as ourselves.

In this season of compassion overjoy, I also invite you to invest in our Relief and Community Care initiative. I invite you to prayerfully consider giving to help support a family in great need. I encourage you to give generously and to pray earnestly for people to receive the Gospel and to accept our Lord as their personal savior.


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