Compassion Needs to be Balanced With...

Kara Powell | Jun 14, 2010

I spoke about Deep Justice Journeys at a church recently. One of the youth ministry volunteers approached me afterward. I could tell by the questions she asked during my presentation that she really cared about justice and was wrestling with what it looked like with the students in her small group, as well as her own kids.

She started the conversation after my presentation by telling me, Im a staunch conservative, and Im concerned that what youre talking about with justice can rob those who are poor of their own personal responsibility. Yes, we need to be compassionate, but I try to teach my kids that they have their own responsibility and they need to be hard workers.

She raised a good point, one that I need to think about a bit more. Without making any sort of political statement, I think that each of us needs to ask ourselves: Is our justice work giving folks we are trying to help the chance to contribute to their own betterment? And then theres a flip side question: are we showing compassion and empathy in the justice work we are doing?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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