November 6, 2013 by AJ Briones
“Philip Pen was a Christian for a very long time and as other Christians, he has his own list of flaws and weaknesses. He made every effort to surround himself with godly people as his friends from his high school years and believed that the people around him would help him. As Christians, there will be those instances when we would face major issues or turning points in their life and Philip Pen experienced that. He believed that the people around him would be there as his Christian support system because he knew that he did not have a full Christian family that had the same convictions as he did. What happened was the opposite of what he had hoped for. Philip experienced a change from God and wanted to go back to the life he used to have. He went back to his life with Christ and wanted to start anew. To his surprise, the people he knew that would be his support system did something most Christians nowadays did; pray. There is nothing wrong with prayer or concern but this is what happened. The Christian friends that Philip had did something that is otherwise. A friend of his from high school named Ray D. started going to their friends and started saying guys Philip is having problems right now and he is down spiritually, let’s pray him. Ray D. told everyone, even those who were in position in the Church that knew Philip; those who were “leaders”. People started to know the issue of Philip and started to see things in their own perspective with what they heard from Ray D.”
The above shared story was an interesting story. We see a Christian community, a brotherhood and even what we call a spiritual family. The people there believed in the Word of God to pray for one another as the Book of JamesB1 says. Yes, the people followed what the word of the Lord said but should it be really like that? Is it all truly what we call Genuine Concern?
What is Genuine Concern?
ConcernR2 means to have to do with or to relate to. GenuineR3 means possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real. This tells us that Genuine Concern means to have an authentic or real desire to relate of putting ourselves in the shoes of others.
As Christians, we should be people who are all out for the benefit of others. We should be looking at what would benefit others. Genuine concern talks about making an extra effort to move and make a stand with a person in a situation he/she is in.
When Genuine Concern Isn’t Genuine
Sadly, the Filipino culture is so rooted into the ideal of connectedness where we Filipinos always want to be a part of others life. This is supported by one of the 4 (Four) main values of Filipino Psychology named KapwaR5 where all Filipinos have a sense of togetherness or at least make an effort to have togetherness with others. The contextualization of Christianity for us have taken the idea of Kapwa to next level where all of us want to have a sense of being one with others by the abuse of the usage of praying for one another. We tend to see the flaws of other people and have a sense of urgency to help re-align the life of the person, thinking that this would help others, we would choose to go to other Christians in our helplessness to do something quoting James 5:16 to share the experiences of others. Does this sound familiar? I have nothing against Genuine Concern but without any action, it would most likely turn out into Genuine Gossip.
Matthew 18:15-16 (NIV1984)
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
Most Christians forget about the first part of this verse which is the most important part of Genuine Concern. This becomes CONDEMNATION. When we see something wrong, we have to go to the person directly. Yes, I should not discount the many factors like the fear of telling a person the truth but why be afraid to tell someone the truth? Genuine Concern is putting your relationship on the line to tell a person what he / she needs to know. This is really helpful and clarifies a lot of things. Sometimes our interpretations of situations may be wrong and for us to not make an issue, it would be better to settle things face-to-face pulling out the Genuine Gossip that may occur.
Note: Sometimes it doesn’t go far away from the process of sharing and sharing until a certain issue would become a big topic that everyone knows; even those not concerned.
In my opinion, I get so disappointed when I see Christians talk about other Christians at their back even if they just want to get updated or for the purpose of unsolicited prayers. It is more like gossip to me when I see people talk about an unknowing individual regardless of what situation that person is in.
What’s the point? GENUINE CONCERN INVOLVES ACTION TO HELP AND NOT TO CONDEMN PEOPLE.
B1 James 5:16 (NIV1984) – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
References / Sources:
R1 New International Version 1984 (NIV1984) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
R5 Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory Research and Clinical Practice by Kevin L. Nadal