Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Absence of Heartfelt Concern or Genuine Compassion? Which Do we Practice in Our Own Lives?

While at my job (caring for the elderly in their home), I sometimes am exposed to more daytime television than I would otherwise desire as my clients tune in. I bring a book for times I am not busy, but the TV can't be avoided when it is on.

Tyra Banks (former supermodel turned TV personality) has a daytime TV show. Today on the Tyra Banks Show (I feel strange just writing that phrase!), I witnessed something I want to comment about. A teenage prostitute was a guest on the show. This girl, age 18, has been a prostitute since she was 14. She was first molested at age 9. She is still doing this--she claims by her choice--and doesn't believe she is likely to live beyond age 22.

I don't know what I could say about the awful awful situation this girl is in, and the horrendous reality that she sees no other way of life for herself. One's heart wishes you could somehow rescue her from her plight. Please pray. Pray for all women and girls who sell their bodies, by force or by choice, that somehow the grace of Christ would break in and set them free.

But I do want to say something about how Tyra interacted with this poor girl. I don't claim to know Tyra Bank's heart. And I don't know much about her otherwise. However, the manner in which she engaged this girl in a conversation about her life while taping the show was disturbingly detached. Sure, there was a model's smile, and the fashionable questions about how do you feel about such-and-such? But behind the smile and the questions about feelings there seemed to me to be a lack of serious concern for the whole person--a lack of a deeply human interest in the full human being in pain there before her. And this is terribly sad to see. There was a disconnect beneath the surface connection.

This is an example, I am sorry to say, of what I blogged about earlier. There is something deeply, horribly wrong with our essential quality as human persons if we can be in the presence of a terribly hurting and wounded person and yet not be able to break out of our own world of personal concerns and interests. A humane and civilized culture should be populated with people who respond with real compassion to the suffering of others.

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