We Are Wired

Ever notice how a sadly barking puppy, like a gently crying child, captures our attention and causes our heart to swell? There’s a need here that these innocents are seeking to get met. “Help me, feed me, touch me.” Just the basic stuff. The basic need of all living things.

Ever notice how a snarling dog, like an angry toddler/teenager, gets our attention and causes our heart to tense up and constrict? There’s a need here too that these once-innocents have learned over time to demand. “Help me or else. Feed me what I want or else. Just try to touch me and I’ll bite you . . .” Still the cry of basic need but the request has warped over time. Neglect or overindulgence—perhaps a multitude of other things have created an anxiety that demands instant resolve with a bark and a bite.

We are wired for compassion not for fear but these demands (cries for aid) create fear. We get signals that we are in danger, that we might get bit. That maybe we didn’t raise that kid right if he’s three and already so angry at the world.

Shift it just a bit . . . we are wired for compassion that moves us to extend patient understanding, to reach out a hand of assistance when we see one of God’s angels who’ve fallen and can’t get up.

Oh, our mind may righteously tell us that they chose their destiny and deserve their plight. But we were wired for compassion. We must do a self-check when we find that our compassion has vaporized and we feel judgement and repulsion instead. How far does judgement take me on my own road back to grace? Not an inch. How far does compassion from others propel me forward again? Miles and miles.

Administer compassion when it is safe to do so. The snarling dog was once a puppy who just wanted his needs met. The fallen angel was once somebody’s sunshine until they lost their way.

Yeah, we’re all wired for compassion. To be moved with a heart full of it or to be saved because we were given it.