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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Do You Really See Them?

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Empathy. Compassion. Sincerity. These are all attributes that most people have to at least some degree, but many squelch these character traits as being uncool, un-manly, and just not something you should strive after. You should be tough and strong, and never show your true heart, never let anyone see you cry. You're bigger than that! 


I get so sick and tired of this mindset, honestly. It's ridiculous and foolish on so many levels...not to mention the fact that it is downright contrary to Scripture. Do you know what the opposite of empathy is? I had to look it up: it's apathy. Wow! Everyone knows what apathy is; an attitude of not caring at all, being coldly detached, and not having any interest in something. So tell me something...when in Scripture do you see our Saviour, Jesus Christ, with an attitude of apathy? Anyone? I can't think of one example. Not one!!

But compassion and empathy? Caring deeply about others and their pain? Wow, I could list dozens! The woman at the well, Jairus' daughter, the woman with the issue of blood, the many lepers and blind men He healed over the course of His ministry, Lazarus, Martha, Mary, the disciples...Jesus' life was a shining, living example of caring for others! 

What about us? When a friend comes to us with heartbreak over a trial or valley they are facing, do we simply listen blandly with a yawn, thinking about the game later on tonight? Or is our heart touched and grieved by their pain? When we hear a story on the news about a family that lost a small child in an accident, is it just another news story that we skim over and humph at? Heaven forbid we actually take 10 seconds to pray that the family of that child will be drawn to Christ through this tragedy. Um, no...that's way too weird. I mean, we don't need to go too far with this whole compassion thing. Well, what if that was your little sister that was there playing with dolls one day, and gone forever from your life on the next? We don't like to think about things like that, and yet it happens every day. Just because it's not you today, doesn't mean it couldn't be. 

I just finished a book about a girl, 17 years old, who was captured in 2014 by ISIS. She went through the most hellish experiences you could ever imagine...the fact that she is alive today is only by the hand of God. Last year, she escaped them, along with a handful of other girls who had been enslaved. She and what's left of her family were able to get to Germany and start a new life. Guess what, though? In all of that, this girl, Farida, does not believe in Jesus Christ. She is Yazidi, and worships Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel. She prays every day to the sun when it comes up, because the sun gives life to everything on earth, according to their belief system. She was raised in this faith. I cannot personally imagine going through what she did without the sustaining power of God within me. I believe God must have saved her life and allowed her to escape for a reason, and now I am praying that He would send someone in Germany to her to tell her the glorious truth of the Gospel. This is a real girl that is hiding out somewhere for fear of her life! She only escaped about a year and a half ago--I promise you she is still haunted by the horrors she has experienced, and will be for the rest of her life. But I think sometimes we tend to detach ourselves with the thought that "this happened so far away, it has nothing to do with me". Well, it actually does. And even if you can't personally reach out to someone in distress, you can pray for them. You can truly see them through the eyes of Christ instead of looking past them and their unimportant problems.

Let's not get so caught up in being strong that we can never be vulnerable with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's not forget to have compassion on those around us, both saved and unsaved. If they have Christ, lift them up and edify them. If they don't, find some way to tell them, or pray for someone to be sent. Let's stop being so intensely self focused and start trying to step into someone else's shoes for once. To feel their pain. To cry with them. To pray for and with them. To do what Christ, the compassionate Saviour, would do if He were here. Believe me, I know that sometimes it can be hard to know what to say or do for someone who is hurting! But sometimes just being there for them is enough. Just listening with an open and loving heart, and caring. Caring deeply. And loving them like Jesus would.

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