From hurricanes to earthquakes, disease to unexplained death, we don’t have to look far to see the pain around us. Most of us are literally surrounded by suffering on a daily basis. In our families, at our jobs, and oftentimes within our own souls, there is pain and hurt that needs healing.
To say that elements of humanity have regressed into a place of deep darkness would be an understatement. A couple of weeks ago during a country music concert, a sick and deranged man gunned down and killed 58 people and injured an additional 489. I remember the sadness and anguish I felt as I read the details on that Sunday morning. Standing in Church just a couple of hours later, I asked God in prayer, “Lord, would I feel the same sadness if it was just one person who was killed?”
Today unfortunately I can say that the answer is yes. Early this morning, Thursday, October 12, 2017 a young priest named Father Samaan Shehata was stabbed in Cairo, Egypt and left for dead on the street. Video footage showed the priest running for his life, while being hunted down like prey. Seeking to escape his attacker, Father Samaan was savagely stabbed in the back and then hit in the head with a meat cleaver.
Why would the attacker do something so horrific? The unfortunate reality is that many who have been deeply wounded by the insecurities of their childhood monsters, still believing the lies they have been fed about themselves and others, oftentimes take those wounds and obsess over them. The only thing they find that temporarily eases the deep hurt in their souls is to hurt themselves and hurt others. The truth is that hurt people, hurt people.
The Danger of Indifference
Being surrounded by the injustices of the world and hardships of life, there is a tendency to want to ignore those deep and unsettling emotions we feel when tragedy strikes. “I can’t always feel like this when something bad happens!” Or can we? The eternal Word of wisdom says that “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) The danger in fact is not in mourning pain and suffering! The deadliest danger we face is in remaining indifferent. Ignoring the pain around, and within, us doesn’t make it go away. Temporary feelings of comfort may come, but left unaddressed, it usually introduces deep wounds into our own souls that manifests later. When God looked to the world, His love compelled Him to become Human in the person of Jesus Christ, the God-man. I have come to realize that there is no better way for me to be Jesus to the world than by receiving His forgiveness and healing, so that I myself can remain emotionally, physically, and spiritually interested, connected, and available to serve those who are in need.
“I feel your pain, man!”
To suffer is to be human. In His desire to lift humanity, provide healing to the proverbial other, and protect the weakest amongst us, God entered our world, healed those He touched, loved those who were the rejects of society, forgave those who turned back to Him, and offered Himself on the cross as an act of love and mercy for those who hated Him. To step into the world is to choose to love those who are hurting. When we mourn with – and for – others, comfort will be extended. When we stand for those who cannot stand for themselves, justice will reign. When we extend healing and comfort from God, that we ourselves have received from Him, we do the work of Christ. It is only then that light can shine into those dark pits into which humanity has regressed.