Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pain by Proxy

Have you ever found yourself watching a show like Americas Funniest Home Videos, and you see a large ball or tree limb headed right for someone's head. You notice you begin having sympathy pains. You start ducking and flinching and grimacing and even saying "owwwww" on behalf of that poor, poor victim. We cry at sad television shows depicting loss and grief. Very few of us enjoy the pain of others. Most of us are moved by news stories chronicling the death of a pregnant mother, the torture of soldiers, the unexplained killing of students. We are touched by these stories, we weep and our hearts hurt.

I believe God created us to be this kind of person, the kind who truly cares about and empathizes with the painful situations of those around us. Physical empathy is easy for us. It is both possible and probable that when we, as Christians, see others suffering, we hurt for them. He set the example for us. Matthew 9:36 tells us He felt compassion on the crowd because they were harassed and helpless. And although He was weary and in need of some time alone with His Father, His compassion compelled Him to stay with the people and provide the much needed healing for them. (Mt. 14:14). Feeling their hunger, He fed the five thousand. Sharing her grief, He restored life to a widow's son. Knowing his blindness, He restored sight to the blind man. Our God is a God of compassion. He feels the pain of others and is moved by that pain. The crowds followed Him, listened to Him and worshipped Him, largely because of His message of compassion and healing and that is indeed a big part of who He is.

In Matthew 9:9-12, we find the story of the calling of the tax collector, Matthew or Levi. Remember that Jesus finds him at his tax booth and calls him to follow. The Pharisees begin their smear campaign by attempting to instill questions and doubt in the disciples. Their own lack of compassion evident in their question, they ask, "why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" The Savior answers with, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. But go and learn what this means, I desire mercy not sacrifice, for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. "

Yes, Jesus had compassion and empathy on the sick and the dying and the crippled, but He came for those who were spiritually ill, came for those who were spiritually dying, came for those who were crippled by sin. These folks are the object of His compassion. Lost souls, sick and helpless, drowing in sin, enslaved by satan, hopeless and helpless: these are the ones He came to redeem. These are the ones who touch His heart and cause Him to weep. These are the ones He loves enough to die for.

When was the last time you wept over the spiritual condition of another? Can you remember watching as someone chose sin and satan over Jesus and justification? Did your heart ache? When you saw your brother embrace unrighteousness did you fight back the tears? Was the pain more than you could bear and did the very thought of it almost make you ill? The last time you witnessed a sister willingly walk into darkness, did the horror of it cause you to turn your eyes away, unable to watch even one more second? When someone you love chose death over life, did you hurt for them? Did you weep aloud with big deep gulping sobs, the sounds of a heart breaking? Or did you turn away so that you would not offend? Did you pretend not to notice so as not to intrude? Did you refuse to confront so as to mind your own business? Did you rationalize that the best thing to do would be to just let them learn their lesson the hard way? After all, you'd still be there when they came to their senses.

Our physical life is but a breath but our spirit lives forever. As we grow and mature in the faith, we must learn to see things through the lens of eternity. We then begin to see others as souls, rather than humans with bad behavior, men in dire circumstances, people caught up in tragic events. We see souls, souls who are lost and dying, crippled and sick. We see people in spiritual pain. We empathize with them, we feel their pain and we offer them the only effective pain relief available ---the message of Messiah.



Anonymous john dobbs said...

Very good, Neva. It is too easy to just blindly see "people" ... we need to see people with needs ... people with hurts ... people who can benefit from what we know ... people created by God ... people loved by Jesus. Thanks for a great post.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. We will never "win" the world if we dont see them as lost.

Hope Ned had a great birthday,


6:51 AM  
Blogger AncientWanderer said...

It is a very thin line that I walk as a preacher concerning "people". I serve God and they (people) are all created in the image of God & some are "God's people" but I also (because of the love of God) have a love for people. But I serve God...

I think sometimes, if we don't keep that tension God/people, "people" become a means to an end- serving God.

And yeah I have... just this week. I struggle with the young people we've "missed" for a year. The majority of our "kids" don't have believing parents and that causes them to loose hope and to loose their way.... that is hard for me.

7:07 AM  
Blogger DJG said...

It is hard to not just turn to "head-wagging" and saying they should know better....but you are right we should be broken hearted over the spiritually sick.

Thanks for making me think.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grieving over the lost, that should be standard in our lives, don't you think?


7:40 AM  
Blogger Nicki said...

Awesome post!!! I think we do get caught up with ourselves many times and we do forget to hurt for others....it's a sad painful truth. But you are so right, that is NOT how Christ intends for us to be, we need to let that compassion that has been pushed away, come back out and I believe amazing things would happen in this world!!

7:46 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

I am sorry I missed your post yesterday. Happy belated Birthday and you know I will pray for him. You are a wonderful Godly woman, I think you to deserve each other.

You are special too!

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The world knows. They see our big fancy buildings and our elaborate programs and they know. We cannot become like Jesus and still think like the world

Interested Bystander

1:11 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

As I get to know many of the lost here, it does pain me to think of their future without God. I really want to do what I can in their lives.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont know that we don't feel the pain of their lostness as much as it is that we don't even notice it.

Good post.


5:22 PM  
Anonymous carol said...

I do want to have a heart that hurts for the lost, I get so busy, I just don't seem to notice. How sad that we have to "make time" to care.


5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Neva. I read it this morning and have been asking myself the same questions you asked. I must confess I do not weep enough for the lost. It saddens me to say this. I have repented and will try to do better. Thank you for touching my conscience.


9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart has often hurt for others but I find myself stifling the urge to do something about it.
Good post


11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We ought to be able to weep over sin!


11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with John, we cannot see people blindly.

It has to be about us reaching out to them, feeling for them and with them. Focusing on their salvation. Yes, it is all a salvation issue.
Good job, Neva


5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These were great thoughts, We cannot ignore sin any longer.


2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell Ned I love him and hope he has the best birthday ever.

love ya

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get so involved with my own problems that I forget to look outside myself and feel for the lost. Thanks you for this reminder.


9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The only effective pain relief" Yeah!


10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being overseas totally changes the way you look at people. Lostness is more evident there or at least not what we have become so used to here.
Good post


10:36 PM  
Blogger Liz Moore said...

Great post Neva, thanks for the reminder. Sometimes we get so caught up in ourselves, we forget there is a hurt and dying world out there. Blessings.

12:27 PM  

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