Many times, as we watch television or look at our computer screens, we watch suffering people from all walks of life.
We see the homeless and the sick ones. We weep with those whose loved ones have died from war or natural calamities. In a way, we feel compassion for them. And we even help them by donating what we could whether some clothes we could spare or some money to buy food and other immediate needs.
It doesn’t seem so hard to love people when we can see their needs
But what about loving those closer to us? The ones whose sad eyes we can see face to face? The ones who can’t filter out their anger, and who bothers us now and then, making us feel awkward and uncomfortable each time we encounter them?
Why is it that we find it more difficult to love the people we know, the neighbors we get to see each day, or the ones actually living in our own homes?
Is it easier to love people from a distance? What if God felt the same and kept Himself far away from us? What kind of Christianity would we preach if God loved us only from a distance?
God did not keep Himself from a distance but came right down to where we are.
To the darkness and misery where we are, stripping away every inch of glory, wealth and comfort, facing every possible pain and heartache that any human being ever could…perhaps even more. Because He is God, and He knows more, therefore He suffered more.
He did not keep Himself from a safe distance, only loving us when it is comfortable and happy to do so. His love for us is one that cannot keep Him away, even if it meant suffering and dying on the cross. Just to save us, to love us to the fullest extent possible.
To love from a distance keeps away many of the painful and ugly things we can only touch up close. It is sometimes a sort of a lens that we use to filter out what we cannot accept, a surface so rough and painful we couldn’t even bear to touch.
We oftentimes say that we must have compassion, that we must practice empathy. And to do so would be to place ourselves in the shoes of the other person before us. To do so means to feel their pain and to claim their suffering us our own.
Is there a greater sign of empathy then than what God has done for us?
He did not merely imagine our pain. He did not remain far away from us, only watching us from the safety of heaven.
But He reached out to us, becoming truly human like us, born in a humble stable, poor and without a place to rest His head upon.
What greater compassion is there than to embrace us even if it meant being pricked by the very thorns that cover our hearts?
“Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7-8 (NRSVCE)
“He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity…
Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases…
he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
-Isaiah 53:3-5 (NRSVCE)
You may also want to read: “The 7 Ways God Can Heal You and Your Loved Ones”