The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Shared Pain

I posted this today on another blog I recently joined called Communal Cup, formerly Tanner's Rough-Draft.

Can you turn your back on someone else's pain? Is it harder to comfort them and share their tears, or turn away and walk in the other direction, ignoring the forgotten tears pushing against the backs of your own eyes?I don't think there is an easy choice. If you share pain, you feel pain, and if you turn your back on it, well... I think we'd be fooling ourselves if we didn't admit that a little piece of our humanity gets chipped away.

Most people know that the shortest verse in the bible is John 11:35, "Jesus wept." But how many of us know why Jesus wept? Many mistakenly think that he was mourning his dead friend Lazarus, but this makes very little sense since Jesus knew he could, and in fact did, raise Lazarus back to life. Jesus wept when he saw the pain of Mary, Martha, and other Jews over Lazarus' death. "He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled" (John 11:33). So was it the God in Jesus that reacted to such suffering, or was in the man? Was it Jesus' humanity that shared Mary and Martha's pain, or was it something higher, his Godliness, that allowed him to be so compassionate?

My point is, what is our natural instinct when we see something, or someone, suffering? What is the first reaction? Is it to ignore, use, or taunt? Is it to comfort, heal, and save? Which of these is the instinct, and which is the learned behavior?

What is the nature of our humanity?


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