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Physician Describes the Frustrations of Compassion

For decades, Christian physician David Hilfiker has led a medical ministry in Washington, D.C.'s inner city. He writes:

Perhaps the deepest pain involved in living among the poor is the juxtaposition of my own limitations and woundedness with theirs. There are so many battered people all over the place! I sometimes wonder what the Good Samaritan would have done if the road to Jericho had been littered with hundreds of men beaten by robbers. One part of me wants to respond to every need I can, but another part is unwilling, perhaps unable. Numbness and cynicism, I suspect, are more often the products of frustrated compassion than of evil intentions.

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