July 23, 2014
Yesterday I posted: people never truly understanding something until it happens to them. What initially came to mind from that statement was that our lack of understanding is perhaps a good reason to leave the judging to God.
As often happens, this then came up in conversation today, but with a slightly different slant. What may be just as important as not judging is having compassion. When something happens to us, we can better understand what the experience feels like, realize what is helpful to hear, and certainly know what is NOT helpful.
Henri Nouwen wrote about this in “The Wounded Healer,” (although a quick Google indicates Carl Jung coined the phrase). The point being, those who have walked a certain path can be compelled to show compassion to those now walking a similar one, keeping in mind we can never experience something exactly the same way as another person does (hence the need to avoid, “I know exactly how you feel…” We don’t!). And with that, the hope that we would stop and think about what we are about to say before we say it, showing compassion to others who may be experiencing something, but keeping it to themselves. We never really know what someone else is going through.
The Good News is, that while we humans often fall short in showing compassion, we have a savior, Jesus, who understands what it is like to experience the things we do and felt all the emotions that can come with it: pain, abandonment, fear, joy, anger, sadness, loneliness, grief, and a myriad of others. It makes him the ultimate “Wounded Healer,” and the ultimate in demonstrating compassion. Thanks be to God!