Posted by: Mike Willoughby | January 25, 2011

Going Viral (Part 2)

This is week two of my head cold and fortunately it is but a remnant of its former self.  Just a little rasp in my voice is all that remains.  I am still thinking of the viral phenomenon and I thought we could move on to the second encouragement in Ephesians 4:32:

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

It seems to me that being tenderhearted starts with having an attitude of empathy toward other people who are hurting.  You have to be proactively looking out for folks that need to be touched by Jesus at the point that your lives intersect.  I find this awareness – the act of having my empathy radar turned on – is the biggest deterrent to being tenderhearted.  I am frequently just too busy trying to move from one place to the next to notice those around me in need. 

However, just having my radar turned on and tuned in is not enough to qualify for a tenderheart badge.  I believe empathy must motivate me to action to qualify as tenderheartedness.  I suppose this is where tenderheartedness and kindness overlap since tenderheartedness is often expressed in the form of acts of kindness toward the one who is suffering.  I think this is the definition of the type of love known as charity.

I think charity driven by ternderheartedness is another of those actions that can turn viral.  Perhaps all someone needs to have their radar switched on is seeing an example of tenderheartedness in action.  Perhaps you are the one to provide that example.

I think another factor affecting my tenderheart radar is the overwhelming number of opportunities to be charitable.  Each of us cannot possibly be called to respond to everyone we encounter who has a need.  None of us has enough time and resource to respond to even a small number of the opportunities we see on a daily basis to help those in need.  But do all of us together have the time and resource to make a dent in the need?  I think so!

Today, I was leaving a Backyard Burger joint when I met Clinton in the parking lot.  He noticed my ACU sticker on my car and believed we shared a connection.  Apparently one of his relatives might have possibly attended ACU in the past and he recognized the logo.  He knew the “C” stood for Christian and therefore, we must be brothers.  He is right.  Clinton is new to Dallas, living in Garland with a buddy and he is desperately seeking a construction job and he was hungry.  He asked me to pray for him.  We talked about Jesus, I gave him hamburger money for lunch and dinner and I prayed for him.  Please join me in praying for Clinton.

I don’t know if Clinton has a relative that went to ACU and I don’t think it matters much.  I’m not responsible for validating Clinton’s story.  I’m just responsible for noticing Clinton and sharing some time, love and kindness if the Spirit calls me to respond.  The Spirit called me to respond today.  Please turn on your own radar and tune it in to the possibilities.

Here is another scripture that might be helpful as you meditate on viral charity.  My brother James called my attention to this instruction just this last weekend!

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.  Galatians 6:10

Until next week,

Meet me at the intersection!
Previous Intersections Articles

Going Viral (Part 1) Well Equipped Snowflakes and DNA (Part 2)


  1. Mike, enjoyed reading your article today. I know I have problems remembering to look for those opportunities to interact with people, but if we do there are times when we bless them, and we are blessed as well. I truly believe that my true happiness is in helping others as you did, and not what I can accumulate while I’m here. The Lord blesses us so much, and give us these opportunities daily to interact with people, and we must be able to recognize them, and act. Appreciate and love you so much, and thank you for sharing your thoughts on how we can grow closer to our Lord, and influence people around us.

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