What About Others’ Pain? — Morning Devotions – Hope 103.2

What About Others’ Pain? — Morning Devotions

Jesus endured physical, emotional and spiritual pain; he cares about people's pain. He can show us how we can make a difference in our world.

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsSunday 1 Nov 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 5 minutes

I want to tell you a true story, it’s hard to believe, but true nonetheless. It was back in 1999, and in the UK The Times of London newspaper reported that when an employee of a law firm in England committed suicide, the firm charged his mother about $20,000 to settle his work.

Included was a bill for about $2,300 to go to his home to find out why he didn’t show up at work—thus finding his body. Plus about $500 for identifying the body for the coroner, plus about $250 to go to his mother’s home, knock on her door, and tell her that her son was dead. As you can imagine, there was an outcry from the readers, and after unfavourable publicity, the firm withdrew the bill.

How heartless and totally unacceptable. But that was the decision taken by the law firm to recoup their money. You can end up wondering, How can people be so insensitive to another’s pain? Imagine how you would feel in this case.

And yet so often we don’t care about the feelings of somebody else. We’ve all had the experience of being on the receiving end of someone’s bullying or thoughtless words, and feeling injured. I’ve heard it said that living is like dancing—people unintentionally bump into each other and step on each other’s toes daily. Some people are clumsy, frequently falling over their own feet, taking others with them to the floor.

Jesus is Sensitive to People’s Pain

People do hurt each other daily in many ways, and most of the time we do it unintentionally and even in total ignorance. Sometimes we don’t even realise we have hurt that special person in our life. But I like the old saying, “I shall pass through this world but once, any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

In looking at the Bible, one remarkable thing is clear. Jesus was sensitive to people’s pain. In Mark 5 we see the story of a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She had been to many doctors with no success. She had paid them all she had and instead of getting better, she got worse. What a terrible situation for her. She heard Jesus was nearby and came behind him and touched his clothes.

Immediately the bleeding stopped and Jesus turned and spoke kindly to her, as she poured out the story of her life. The crowd was very annoyed. But Jesus said these touching words, “You are now well  because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain” (Mark 5:25-34 – CEV). You will notice in the Gospels that Jesus often noticed one person who was in need, a person who was hurting, and he acted in compassion.

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Matthew says Jesus went to many towns and villages and preached and healed many of their sicknesses. He said, “When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36 -CEV). He showed great compassion for hurting people. He didn’t judge them. He left that to the religious leaders who were hypocritical. He even mixed with lepers and cared for them, which was unthinkable in New Testament times.

And yet Jesus had a pain of his own. Physical pain from beatings and his crucifixion and emotional pain from opposition, rejection, loneliness. Interesting that the Gospels give more emphasis on the mocking he endured than the nails that were driven into his hands on the cross.

And there was the spiritual pain. In the moment of greatest anguish, Jesus cried out to his Father, “Why have you forsaken me?” It seemed the world stopped in that second of desolation and pain. He took the weight of the sins of the world upon him. Literally, he became accursed.

But his pain had a purpose. He identified with us as the sacrificial lamb, an innocent victim who has:

  • identified with our pain
  • suffered on our behalf
  • ‘been there’ so he can relate to us in our times of distress.

God Has not Forgotten Us

During President Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1979, a woman of about 80 spoke out from the audience at the end of one of his campaign speeches, “Mr Reagan, everything you’ve said sounds just fine. But what about the old folks? Haven’t you forgotten us?” The man who was to become the oldest president of the United States smiled down at her and replied, “Forget you? Heavens, how could I ever forget you? I am one of you.”

No matter how dismal our lot may be, God has not forgotten us. Jesus’ coming was God’s way of saying, How could I ever forget you? I am one of you.

Why not make Jesus’ heart, your heart. The suffering of Jesus should do more than redeem us. It should transform us. His compassion and suffering can give us insight. We can continue his mission. We can help those with broken hearts. Feel compassion for hurting people.

Mother Teresa once put it like this:

The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer. It’s the feeling of being uncared for or unwanted, of being deserted and alone. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, and an indifference toward one’s neighbour who may be the victim of poverty or disease or exploited and at the end of his life, left at a roadside.

You can do something about other people’s hurts:

  • Be a friend to a lonely older person
  • Help a single parent
  • Invite a new neighbour into your home, and church
  • Get involved in volunteering in a hospital or aged-care home

Learning from Suffering

We can also be motivated by our own pain and learn from suffering.

I suggest God uses suffering to make of us what we otherwise could not become. Look at what the Apostle Paul says:

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever! (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 -TLB)

Suffering is necessary to produce within us spiritual strength, humility, obedience, patience and faith. This is equally true of the Christian life: the more we identify with Christ, the more we will know both joy and pain.

Ephesians 4:32 (The Voice) says, “Be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King.” Finally Colossians 3:13 (The  Voice) says, “Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you because you should act in kind.”

I encourage you to get to know Jesus, the one who cares. Jesus never gives up on us. He can deal with any problem or hurt. And Jesus can show us how we can make a difference in our world.