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A Word to the Wise

8-24-2019 – A Word to the Wise – THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING

Man has seemingly conquered many things, plants, animals, water, air, the moon, space, even the sun has been brought under the subjection of man. The strides in sciences and medicine are unbelievable yet with this great amount of knowledge man still suffers. More specifically the question that faces us is why Christians must suffer.

God is all mighty so why can he not prevent suffering in reality the question is not if he is able rather why suffering?

For the Christian there are four sources of suffering; himself, other men, Satan, and the Lord.

First and for most man suffers because of himself. The cause may be fear, ignorance, hate or the inability to cope with problems. For instance if man goes out and drives recklessly hits a bridge abutment an ends up in the hospital with a broken back its immediately apparent that he causes his own suffering and he alone holds the key to prevention.

One can say the same the same thing for the person eaten up with envy and greed. Eventually he ends up with heart trouble, or bone disease, and all kinds of problems. Once again the person is in charge and if he stops the suffering ceases. The man is the source of his sufferi8ng.

Just as man is a source of suffering for self he is also the source of suffering for others. This is can be seen in the problems plaguing our society, be it wars, human slavery, drugs, or other chemicals. Life can be brutal whether for the small child left homeless, or the battle over an insignificant piece of land or property.

So two great sources of suffering is man for himself, or for others.

But the third source of suffering comes from the evil one. Only a cursory reading of the book of Job educates us about the task of Satan to test and destroy us. I do not need to educate about him and the multitude of ways he wrings the very life and breath from us.

But the fourth source of suffering is our God. This is the true purpose of this lesson. Why does he cause his children to suffer? There are two main reasons.

The discipline of the Lord is a necessary part of his children’s existence. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the chastisement of God is for our own good and reveals that we are indeed children of his. Paul extends this conversation by telling us that if we suffer with him we will live with him. Why? Because suffering purifies us of the tendency to submit to fleshly desires which are so strong within us.

Are we to good to suffer? One may say when I became a Christian I thought it was a passport to an easy life. Hardly we see Jesus who made himself a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, are we better than he? I think not. At this point we are reminded of Hebrews 5:8 “Though he were a son yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered.” We are sons and like him we will suffer.

But the second reason we must suffer is because it is a means of testing. This is seen explicitly in the example of Abram and his son. One does not take lightly the thought of Abram offering his own son as a sacrifice. I imagined he suffered great mental anguish as they approached that mountain. However, there is no other way to know our own strength and weakness. Peter sums it up when he says “the trial of your faith being much more precious than that of gold that perishes though he be tried with fire might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

Thus we see Christians suffering, some by our own hand or of others, or the evil one, or to purify us to holiness. But in all of this we find a reason for hope.

Finally, in a round about way we might have answered the accusations of the critic who says “that if there is a God he would not let man suffer so much.” Jesus sums it up when speaking to Ananias about Paul, he says “for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” In just the same way so we suffer for Christ sake.

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A Word to the Wise

8-24-2019 – A Word to the Wise – THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING

Man has seemingly conquered many things, plants, animals, water, air, the moon, space, even the sun has been brought under the subjection of man. The strides in sciences and medicine are unbelievable yet with this great amount of knowledge man still suffers. More specifically the question that faces us is why Christians must suffer.

God is all mighty so why can he not prevent suffering in reality the question is not if he is able rather why suffering?

For the Christian there are four sources of suffering; himself, other men, Satan, and the Lord.

First and for most man suffers because of himself. The cause may be fear, ignorance, hate or the inability to cope with problems. For instance if man goes out and drives recklessly hits a bridge abutment an ends up in the hospital with a broken back its immediately apparent that he causes his own suffering and he alone holds the key to prevention.

One can say the same the same thing for the person eaten up with envy and greed. Eventually he ends up with heart trouble, or bone disease, and all kinds of problems. Once again the person is in charge and if he stops the suffering ceases. The man is the source of his sufferi8ng.

Just as man is a source of suffering for self he is also the source of suffering for others. This is can be seen in the problems plaguing our society, be it wars, human slavery, drugs, or other chemicals. Life can be brutal whether for the small child left homeless, or the battle over an insignificant piece of land or property.

So two great sources of suffering is man for himself, or for others.

But the third source of suffering comes from the evil one. Only a cursory reading of the book of Job educates us about the task of Satan to test and destroy us. I do not need to educate about him and the multitude of ways he wrings the very life and breath from us.

But the fourth source of suffering is our God. This is the true purpose of this lesson. Why does he cause his children to suffer? There are two main reasons.

The discipline of the Lord is a necessary part of his children’s existence. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the chastisement of God is for our own good and reveals that we are indeed children of his. Paul extends this conversation by telling us that if we suffer with him we will live with him. Why? Because suffering purifies us of the tendency to submit to fleshly desires which are so strong within us.

Are we to good to suffer? One may say when I became a Christian I thought it was a passport to an easy life. Hardly we see Jesus who made himself a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, are we better than he? I think not. At this point we are reminded of Hebrews 5:8 “Though he were a son yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered.” We are sons and like him we will suffer.

But the second reason we must suffer is because it is a means of testing. This is seen explicitly in the example of Abram and his son. One does not take lightly the thought of Abram offering his own son as a sacrifice. I imagined he suffered great mental anguish as they approached that mountain. However, there is no other way to know our own strength and weakness. Peter sums it up when he says “the trial of your faith being much more precious than that of gold that perishes though he be tried with fire might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

Thus we see Christians suffering, some by our own hand or of others, or the evil one, or to purify us to holiness. But in all of this we find a reason for hope.

Finally, in a round about way we might have answered the accusations of the critic who says “that if there is a God he would not let man suffer so much.” Jesus sums it up when speaking to Ananias about Paul, he says “for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” In just the same way so we suffer for Christ sake.

8-21-2019 – A Word to the Wise – Have you ever wondered what the pearl of great price Jesus refers to in Matthew 13:45? Jesus says that it is something for which a man will sell everything that he owns to purchase.

I have pondered for many years the answer Jesus hides in this parable. The parable just before it speaks of a man finding a treasure in a field and going and buying that field with all that he had.

There are not many things in life worth selling all one owns to buy it, or is there? I know many a soul who sell all they own and much not owned to buy drugs, alcohol, sex, or a host of other things. Cheap things without any true value. When purchased they bring no satisfaction, nor peace or joy.

Yet Jesus, says that there is something worth selling all ones worldly possessions, what is it?

I have no doubt that the Pearl of Great Price that for which I would sell everything is friendship with the Lord.

Do you have any idea what it would be like to be considered a friend of the Lord. This is a position held by very few in scripture. Abraham, Enoch, Elijah, Job, Daniel, David, Peter, James, and John, and Paul. The list indeed is short. The price is tremendous. We can only guess at the tremendous stress these men of God endured.

Yet, the reward makes the price but a small matter. Many think of heaven or even the grace of the Lord as a great prize, and yet this matter of friendship, the Lord having affection for us. Not just love. But to think that when He hears our voice, or beholds are presence, it brings the Lord great satisfaction.

This admiration is reflected in the reply the Lord gives to Satan when He says; “have you considered my servant Job…”

What feelings do you think were aroused in Job when he is writing his story down for posterity, as Job pens the words that reflect the heavenly conversation? “Have you considered my servant Job”?

True, a person may consider many things priceless, yet for a few, friendship with the Lord is the pearl of great price.

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A Word to the Wise

 

8-21-2019 – A Word to the Wise – Have you ever wondered what the pearl of great price Jesus refers to in Matthew 13:45? Jesus says that it is something for which a man will sell everything that he owns to purchase.

I have pondered for many years the answer Jesus hides in this parable. The parable just before it speaks of a man finding a treasure in a field and going and buying that field with all that he had.

There are not many things in life worth selling all one owns to buy it, or is there? I know many a soul who sell all they own and much not owned to buy drugs, alcohol, sex, or a host of other things. Cheap things without any true value. When purchased they bring no satisfaction, nor peace or joy.

Yet Jesus, says that there is something worth selling all ones worldly possessions, what is it?

I have no doubt that the Pearl of Great Price that for which I would sell everything is friendship with the Lord.

Do you have any idea what it would be like to be considered a friend of the Lord. This is a position held by very few in scripture. Abraham, Enoch, Elijah, Job, Daniel, David, Peter, James, and John, and Paul. The list indeed is short. The price is tremendous. We can only guess at the tremendous stress these men of God endured.

Yet, the reward makes the price but a small matter. Many think of heaven or even the grace of the Lord as a great prize, and yet this matter of friendship, the Lord having affection for us. Not just love. But to think that when He hears our voice, or beholds are presence, it brings the Lord great satisfaction.

This admiration is reflected in the reply the Lord gives to Satan when He says; “have you considered my servant Job…”

What feelings do you think were aroused in Job when he is writing his story down for posterity, as Job pens the words that reflect the heavenly conversation? “Have you considered my servant Job”?

True, a person may consider many thing priceless, yet for a few, friendship with the Lord is the pearl of great price.

8-20-2019 – A Word to the Wise – A sense of gratitude is one trait that seems to be absent in our society. Yet it is a cure for a host of our diseases. But it was a plague in the days of our Lord as well. Time and again we see Jesus healing all manner of ills but rarely do we hear expresses of appreciation.

It is an oddity of scripture that there is not a biblical example where a woman fails to praise the Lord for her healing! Amazingly, lepers, demon possessed, withered hands, palsy, you name it, man is afflicted with it, but that affliction and healing so often did not merit a simple thank you. The chief illness is a lack of appreciation.
It is imperative that we list as many as we are able, that have contributed to our well-being from birth to the present. Yes and while you are working on the list do not forget all of those dirty, stinking diapers someone had to change.

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A Word to the Wise

8-20-2019 – A Word to the Wise – A sense of gratitude is one trait that seems to be absent in our society. Yet it is a cure for a host of our diseases. But it was a plague in the days of our Lord as well. Time and again we see Jesus healing all manner of ills but rarely do we hear expresses of appreciation.

It is an oddity of scripture that there is not a biblical example where a woman fails to praise the Lord for her healing! Amazingly, lepers, demon possessed, withered hands, palsy, you name it, man is afflicted with it, but that affliction and healing so often did not merit a simple thank you. The chief illness is a lack of appreciation.
It is imperative that we list as many as we are able, that have contributed to our well-being from birth to the present. Yes and while you are working on the list do not forget all of those dirty, stinking diapers someone had to change.

8-19-2019 – A Word to the Wise

On prayer
We need to take care in what we pray for. We tend to ask the Lord to make bad people good, to ignore a person’s character and somehow reform them when they do not desire reformation. How often have you heard someone ask God to make an individual wise? When you ask God to give wisdom to an evil person you are asking for the Lord to make them craftier in their wickedness.
Often we hear one begging the Lord to heal a person yet never that the person grow in their adversity! Yes character building comes from adversity not from peace and contentment. When that process is complete then it is time to implore the Lord to heal. Not before. Before only condemns the person to further trials. Our prayer life needs to reflect godly wisdom, not human purpose, or desire. Lord, accompany us in our trials, and suffering cleansing your child from all forms of impurity.
Life is filled with sadness. One could make a victory of these experiences turning life into inner triumph or could ignore the challenge and simple vegetate. Any attempt to restore ones inner strength has to show some future goal.

Read Full Post »

A Word to the Wise

8-19-2019 – A Word to the Wise

On prayer
We need to take care in what we pray for. We tend to ask the Lord to make bad people good, to ignore a person’s character and somehow reform them when they do not desire reformation. How often have you heard someone ask God to make an individual wise? When you ask God to give wisdom to an evil person you are asking for the Lord to make them craftier in their wickedness.
Often we hear one begging the Lord to heal a person yet never that the person grow in their adversity! Yes character building comes from adversity not from peace and contentment. When that process is complete then it is time to implore the Lord to heal. Not before. Before only condemns the person to further trials. Our prayer life needs to reflect godly wisdom, not human purpose, or desire. Lord, accompany us in our trials, and suffering cleansing your child from all forms of impurity.
Life is filled with sadness. One could make a victory of these experiences turning life into inner triumph or could ignore the challenge and simple vegetate. Any attempt to restore ones inner strength has to show some future goal.

8-18-2019 – A Word to the Wise

GOD’S LOVE

For God so loved……! Yes, we all know the scripture, but too few of us believe it. Too many of us have never experienced a sense of “belonging”, therefore the ‘world’ does not seem to include us. Deep in our hearts, too often is buried the conviction Christ died for everyone – except me. God loves everybody, but me. The words are like a sonnet; beautiful but not about me!

We view God’s world from space and longingly wish we could “belong”, but try as we may we still always see ourselves on the outside. Especially, if you were not welcomed into this God’s world by loving parents do you find it difficult to feel “God loves me”. Me, your heart may answer, why I am not really supposed to be here. But you are, you were in God’s mind before you were in the world. He sent you here himself. Now, whether we were welcomed by people should be a little less important,. You we God’s idea! Imagine that, and you thought you just happened. The love that calls for self-sacrifice is not difficult but the love that calls for humility is something more difficult because this love is based on the right relationship with God.

We observe the publican and sinners manifesting this first love. The second which is dependent on a real sense of humility is something quite different. This involves humbling one’s self before God as his created and looking upon all the rest he has created with reverence and respect because if for no other reason God made them and to degrade them is to degrade God’s workmanship. We do not fall into love – we grow into it by patient endeavor.

Why is it so difficult to learn to love? We have love for the poor, the sinful and we are all the time trying to love God. Why does it not come? Because loving God is just the opposite in many ways of loving the unfortunate. God needs nothing, He has everything.

Our approach to the love of God sets in motion a totally different group of facts & emotions than love of man. It calls upon our capacity for humility. We love God for what he is instead of what he is not. To the needy we love by compassion. To God, we are the beggar the ONE in NEED of compassion. Too God we are ever the receiver, to man the giver. Why must we perfect our love toward man, in order to love God? Have you ever said, “I don’t want charity” (in this sense meaning you don’t want to be classed with the needy)? Why, if it is such a degrading thing, do you feel do “pious” when you offer it to someone else? Is your expression of generosity only in reality an expression of superiority? Is your love for others only spasmodically fitted to your convenience and mood? Could your love being thus, be the reason you cannot comprehend a constant love from God for you? Humility toward God Equality toward Man

He is the beggar of you; you are the beggar of God (You are all equal before God)

We as human beings fail so greatly in our expression of love that we tend only to think of the gentleness it embodies and have seemingly hidden from ourselves its firmness, its justice, its patient unyielding purpose. Yes, unyielding. Because we so often lack these elements of love, we forget that God does not. Is there a difference in brotherly love and brotherly dependency? What of the bar fly who loves no one but shows deep sympathy for one on a crying jag? All given is a listening ear. Two broke people sharing their nothing is this not really dependency rather than love? You see families like this. At first glance one thinks the love that exists is so much greater than average, but on closer examination, you will find it is actually a greater dependency than is average. Only when you do for the good of the other person instead of self is it really love. Because love is the essence of what the human mind can grasp, we are beginning to view it as the essence of God. God is love, but he is much more. He is invisible, immortal; He is power, He is eternal. To limit God to love only is to reduce him to a man. Love is not a synonym for power. Power is not a synonym for eternal. Blessed is the poor in spirit. Christ’s greatest love in being a sacrifice for the souls of others and so we know the measure of our love by how deeply we are willing to suffer for the souls of others. This is usually learned first toward our loved ones and then broadens to include our fellowman. Thus, we understand love. Read John 4:8-3. “Herein” that is, hidden here in is understanding. How do we understand? By doing what he did – give ourselves for others. Once

We do and feel, then we know love. We concentrate on the love nature of God to grow closer to him, but in order that our love be in its proper expression we cannot neglect our reverence.

Read Full Post »

A Word to the Wise

8-18-2019 – A Word to the Wise

GOD’S LOVE

For God so loved……! Yes, we all know the scripture, but too few of us believe it. Too many of us have never experienced a sense of “belonging”, therefore the ‘world’ does not seem to include us. Deep in our hearts, too often is buried the conviction Christ died for everyone – except me. God loves everybody, but me. The words are like a sonnet; beautiful but not about me!

We view God’s world from space and longingly wish we could “belong”, but try as we may we still always see ourselves on the outside. Especially, if you were not welcomed into this God’s world by loving parents do you find it difficult to feel “God loves me”. Me, your heart may answer, why I am not really supposed to be here. But you are, you were in God’s mind before you were in the world. He sent you here himself. Now, whether we were welcomed by people should be a little less important,. You we God’s idea! Imagine that, and you thought you just happened. The love that calls for self-sacrifice is not difficult but the love that calls for humility is something more difficult because this love is based on the right relationship with God.

We observe the publican and sinners manifesting this first love. The second which is dependent on a real sense of humility is something quite different. This involves humbling one’s self before God as his created and looking upon all the rest he has created with reverence and respect because if for no other reason God made them and to degrade them is to degrade God’s workmanship. We do not fall into love – we grow into it by patient endeavor.

Why is it so difficult to learn to love? We have love for the poor, the sinful and we are all the time trying to love God. Why does it not come? Because loving God is just the opposite in many ways of loving the unfortunate. God needs nothing, He has everything.

Our approach to the love of God sets in motion a totally different group of facts & emotions than love of man. It calls upon our capacity for humility. We love God for what he is instead of what he is not. To the needy we love by compassion. To God, we are the beggar the ONE in NEED of compassion. Too God we are ever the receiver, to man the giver. Why must we perfect our love toward man, in order to love God? Have you ever said, “I don’t want charity” (in this sense meaning you don’t want to be classed with the needy)? Why, if it is such a degrading thing, do you feel do “pious” when you offer it to someone else? Is your expression of generosity only in reality an expression of superiority? Is your love for others only spasmodically fitted to your convenience and mood? Could your love being thus, be the reason you cannot comprehend a constant love from God for you? Humility toward God Equality toward Man

He is the beggar of you; you are the beggar of God (You are all equal before God)

We as human beings fail so greatly in our expression of love that we tend only to think of the gentleness it embodies and have seemingly hidden from ourselves its firmness, its justice, its patient unyielding purpose. Yes, unyielding. Because we so often lack these elements of love, we forget that God does not. Is there a difference in brotherly love and brotherly dependency? What of the bar fly who loves no one but shows deep sympathy for one on a crying jag? All given is a listening ear. Two broke people sharing their nothing is this not really dependency rather than love? You see families like this. At first glance one thinks the love that exists is so much greater than average, but on closer examination, you will find it is actually a greater dependency than is average. Only when you do for the good of the other person instead of self is it really love. Because love is the essence of what the human mind can grasp, we are beginning to view it as the essence of God. God is love, but he is much more. He is invisible, immortal; He is power, He is eternal. To limit God to love only is to reduce him to a man. Love is not a synonym for power. Power is not a synonym for eternal. Blessed is the poor in spirit. Christ’s greatest love in being a sacrifice for the souls of others and so we know the measure of our love by how deeply we are willing to suffer for the souls of others. This is usually learned first toward our loved ones and then broadens to include our fellowman. Thus, we understand love. Read John 4:8-3. “Herein” that is, hidden here in is understanding. How do we understand? By doing what he did – give ourselves for others. Once

We do and feel, then we know love. We concentrate on the love nature of God to grow closer to him, but in order that our love be in its proper expression we cannot neglect our reverence.

8-14-2019 – A Word to the Wise

It is my experience that we often find ourselves having to deal with the same temptations, the same bad attitudes, same failures. Wonder why? Perhaps it is because we do not take seriously examples the Lord has given over the many generations of mankind.

Consider what the scriptures says about the closing days of the great biblical commander Joshua; “he left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Joshua 11:15)

Unfortunately we are more like King Saul. I Samuel 15 tells us of Saul’s great failure and the consequences for generations to come. The Lord commanded Samuel to tell Saul to go to war with the Amalek and to completely destroy them and everything that belonged to them.

The orders were given by the Lord because they were ruthless people who had attacked and killed the aged, sick, and the orphans in the wilderness. Saul did not do it, rather decided to take captives, and property. His kingdom was taken from him for not obeying the Lord.

Because of his failure it would be another 500 years of Amalekite treachery before Queen Esther fully obeyed and destroyed Haman and the rest of the Amalekite.

As a patrol officer in South Dallas there was a particular block that reeked with drug houses and all kinds of wickedness. On one occasion having a shooting call at this location I stepped up on the porch and someone shot at me. I hated that area. I noticed not too long ago that the whole block had been leveled to the ground.

The lesson here for us? One does not stop when the enemy is defeated you take all that belongs to him. Destroy all the strongholds of Satan and he has nothing to return to. Our great temptation is to leave our houses of addiction, immorality, greed, and idolatry standing. Doing so dooms us to fight another day, and another.

That is what we have to do with our houses of sin and temptations, level them to the ground.

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8-14-2019 – A Word to the Wise

It is my experience that we often find ourselves having to deal with the same temptations, the same bad attitudes, same failures. Wonder why? Perhaps it is because we do not take seriously examples the Lord has given over the many generations of mankind.

Consider what the scriptures says about the closing days of the great biblical commander Joshua; “he left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Joshua 11:15)

Unfortunately we are more like King Saul. I Samuel 15 tells us of Saul’s great failure and the consequences for generations to come. The Lord commanded Samuel to tell Saul to go to war with the Amalek and to completely destroy them and everything that belonged to them.

The orders were given by the Lord because they were ruthless people who had attacked and killed the aged, sick, and the orphans in the wilderness. Saul did not do it, rather decided to take captives, and property. His kingdom was taken from him for not obeying the Lord.

Because of his failure it would be another 500 years of Amalekite treachery before Queen Esther fully obeyed and destroyed Haman and the rest of the Amalekite.

As a patrol officer in South Dallas there was a particular block that reeked with drug houses and all kinds of wickedness. On one occasion having a shooting call at this location I stepped up on the porch and someone shot at me. I hated that area. I noticed not too long ago that the whole block had been leveled to the ground.

The lesson here for us? One does not stop when the enemy is defeated you take all that belongs to him. Destroy all the strongholds of Satan and he has nothing to return to. Our great temptation is to leave our houses of addiction, immorality, greed, and idolatry standing. Doing so dooms us to fight another day, and another.

That is what we have to do with our houses of sin and temptations, level them to the ground.

8-9-2019 – A Word to the Wise – A study of COMPASSSION AND EMPATHY
What is compassion? How is it connected to empathy? We, I suspect will find some very certain truths about Jesus when we examinee these two forces.
We will use simple definitions and make a clear distinction between the two. Compassion is an action word that reflects physical action towards others, in a manner which relieves pain, suffering or discontent. Empathy in contrast is a word which is being used here to reflect passivity and emotion. Thus one active the other passive.
Compassion has the distinction of being at the top of the list of character qualities highly esteemed and accounts for increased length of life. It is the ability to see the needs of another and to meet those needs. The emphasis here is on the desire to act to intervene in the affairs of men.
In sharp contrast empathy is a strict emotion with no indication or reference to physical action. It is the emotional experience that arouse from the heart and to various degrees evident in mood and effect.
These are the simple descriptions of these two traits that will be reflected in our study. (For the biblical scholars the key Strong word for compassion in Hebrew is rhm , or 7355, the Greek is eleeo or 5806). There is no particular word for empathy.
However, definitions do not point us in the direction we wish to explore rather the events and moods present in scripture. Those will be our teacher. Our chief focus will be on Jesus with emphasis on his healing ministry.
First let’s consider compassion. Often it appears with no empathy is present. This means what occurs is a strict action or compassion on Jesus part.
Lk. 8:40 ff tells us of a woman who has been ill 12 years. She approaches Jesus unbeknownst to him, touching his garment and is healed. The only interaction occurring is after this act of compassion.
Mt. 14:36 gives a similar account where many are healed simply by touching Jesus garment again no personal interaction.
In contrast let’s see samples where empathy on Jesus part occurs. Lk. 7 recounts the story of a sick centurion’s servant and how Jesus is called upon to help. The pathos of the situation is evident in the plea for help and Jesus response.
Another time John 5 relates the account where Jesus focus attention on a man who had been sick some 38 years. Empathy is apparent in the choice since the man did not approach Jesus. The same occurs in John 9 with a man born blind. Again we find Jesus approaching the person.
These are samples of the situations where compassion and empathy are to be distinguished.
Now what is to be discovered? One more element is to be added to illuminate what is occurring. Remember the event in Mark 2 where a paralytic is let down through the roof to be healed? Well it is the sentence Jesus uses “which is easier” healing or forgiving? The implication here is that it cost Jesus to heal. Cost what? Not money, or something tangible rather it cost him energy, or power.
Our tendency is to think it is all free there is no price to pay. That is not so. Which do you think is more expensive, compassion, or empathy? Two short passages answer.
Compassion: 13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 As he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.(RSV)
Empathy: 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, (KJV)
Which is the higher price?
Society understands the importance of acquiring compassion and empathy. For some time now there are programs in prisons dedicated to teaching offenders empathy. The hope being once the person learns to feel what the victim feels they will stop offending. To say the least these programs only have partial success.
It is not that compassion and empathy cannot be taught, in fact on occasion sociopaths and psychopaths may exhibit signs of compassion. It just seems that it goes deeper than that. There is something deeper than just technical attributes.
Something else. I believe Jesus left us a pattern for how we are to treat others with compassion, however empathy is a different matter. Empathy is not a lesson to be taught, compassion is on the other hand teachable
Remember that phrase in Mt 26:53 think not my Father would send 12 legions of angels? Who is it written to? Often the answer is to the disciples
However, I think Jesus was telling the Father he knew the power He could weld…just don’t. The empathy between the Son and father is complete Jesus knew His Father wanted to send those 12 legions of angels to rescue his Son the Father must have had enough. “Don’t Father, let it be.
All of this is to say we miss the mark when we suppose the pattern for us is empathy towards our fellow man.
No! Our pattern for empathy is that between the Father and Son. That is what the Lord desires. Our feelings are to unit with that of the Father and Jesus. The resulting feelings is what is to guide His followers.
We should copy the lesson of compassion Jesus patterns for us and apply it to our fellowman. But the lessons of empathy patterned as displayed between Father and Son that is our ultimate goal.
This is why true empathy is not experienced or learned by looking at human experiences, rather at divinity.
Jesus at the grave of Lazarus. Jesus in the garden with blood rolling down His face. Now that is empathy. Are you able to experience those feelings? That is the pattern for empathy. Do not confuse it with empathy for ones fellowman. This is indeed holy ground. Treat it as such.

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