A need for compassion | PostIndependent.com

A need for compassion

Hal Sundin
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

In the 31⁄2 months between the two most important Christian holidays, Christian compassion for the less fortunate among us seems to have been in decline.

The downturn in the economy has resulted in tough times for many Americans, but there is a disturbing trend for those who have been able to get by to blame the less fortunate for the dire straits many of them are in, facing unemployment or a severe cut in income, or perhaps a serious medical emergency, and the resulting foreclosure on their homes. The cry goes up, “I have been making my mortgage payments. Why should the money I pay in taxes be used to bail out those in default on their mortgages?”

But, just for the moment, put yourself in the position of many of those facing foreclosure. Many are highly skilled workers or well-educated professionals, perhaps with children in college, who had a well-paying job, and for years had been making their mortgage payments. Now the company they worked for either eliminates their job, or even goes out of business, often leaving them without health insurance. They are highly skilled for a job that no longer exists, and in the present economic doldrums, it is virtually impossible for them to find another job that provides an income sufficient to meet their obligations, to which health care has now been added.

There are also many families that are without health insurance, either because it is not provided by their employer or they cannot afford the cost of individual policies, who are suddenly hit with medical emergency expenses that make it impossible for them to keep up with their mortgage payments.

It is easy to be smug if you have no mortgage, have health care coverage, or don’t have current or future college expenses to meet, and are well-insulated from the current realities millions of Americans are now facing.

Obviously, there are many for whom mortgage assistance should not be provided. This would include those who have bought houses for speculation or as a rental income investment, or a s a second home. Also those whose incomes were obviously inadequate to afford the home they had purchased, but were lured into adjustable rate mortgages by unrealistically low payments for the first few years.

Like it or not, we all have a stake in these mortgage crises, because they have an impact on the rest of the economy. And don’t forget: “There but for the grace of God go I.” The Christian message is to offer help to those less fortunate. It was wonderfully encouraging to read in Stacie Durrett’s column in the April 26 Post Independent of the way in which our community has rallied to assist the Salvation Army in meeting the needs of those in financial distress. Hopefully we will not lose sight of the need to sustain that support in the months ahead, which will continue to be difficult for many of our citizens. We should also be more understanding of, and sympathetic toward, our government’s attempts to do the same ” provided those attempts are legitimate, well-planned and properly monitored.

Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.

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