The Grace of the Cross: Authenticity and the Comparison of Pain


You guys. There is so much hurt. I turn on the t.v., I check my Facebook, and I can feel it. I look at the relationships around me, I hear the words of pain coming from friends and from family, and my eyes are so incredibly opened to what is happening here on earth. We are all feeling it. We are all going through something. We are all living in fear. We do not know what is going to happen tomorrow, or even today for that matter. And we see the world in front of us getting worse. Getting more violent. Love is there…somewhere. But it’s hard to dig it out beneath the waves of pain that keep on coming. Is it going to get better? Will we ever see peace?

And  I see it in the comment sections on Facebook. Words of violence and not of empathy. Words of concern…but not authenticity. And what are we all really doing? We are all just comparing our pain. We are all just comparing our fear. For some reason it’s important to us that we mask the pain felt by others with the pain that is currently consuming our own lives.

And why? Probably because each of us feels alone in our pain and in our fear. It’s hard to step into the shoes of another person, when your own shoes feel too heavy for you to wear. So what are we going to do. How can we empathize when we haven’t addressed the hurt in our own hearts? How can we possibly say the right thing? How can our silence at times be meaningful, when most often it is taken for apathy. Is it apathy? Are we apathetic to what is happening in our world?

I think that deep down we are not. It is a huge cross to bear…it is huge and overwhelming…to take on the pain of the world. It’s something only Jesus can do. It’s something only Jesus can heal. And yet everyday we have access to the pain of the entire world at the tips of our fingers…all we have to do is pick up our phones, click on an app, almost any app, and there it plays out..raw, before us.

We were never meant to handle all of this. We were never meant to have constant access to the world. There is being culturally and socially aware…and then there is drowning in too much hurt. We are only one person, each of us. We only have the one heart. And if we feel the pain of every heart, our own hearts will fail. And maybe that’s what’s happening now.

God sees it all. He sees everything that goes on, all the time. Except He sees even more than we do. He sees the intentions behind actions, the motivation behind words, He sees the truth…and we don’t. World…we are not God. We are people. And we are fragile.

We can not fix the pain of someone who lives a world away. We cannot fix the pain of millions. But what we can do is to learn to love the people next to us. The people we see in real life everyday. If I love the person sitting next to me, and you love the person sitting next to you, and they love the person sitting next to them…then we can heal. Then God can heal us.

Relationships have a rippling effect in the waves of this life. How we see and treat and love the people in close proximity to us greatly affects the bigger picture. We have to admit that we have a problem. And maybe that problem is that we’ve changed the world by closing our front doors instead of opening them. Maybe the problem is that we have decided to form our opinions and hurl our words across the much too open world of the internet, instead of actually using the phone for its original intent and calling up to speak directly to someone about the pain. What we see through the internet is only a shadow…because we can’t see hearts. We can’t know intentions. We can’t experience the fear. And we don’t know the life stories of the souls involved.

We have our own pain. And sometimes this blinds us. But I am telling you that we weren’t meant to carry this burden. None of us were. It doesn’t matter who you are, what race or social class, you were not meant to carry this burden. This burden is too heavy. It will break us if we try to go it alone.

World…this is why we need Jesus. Jesus never turned away from our pain because His heart has always been stronger than ours. He carried it to a cross and all the pain that we are feeling today…was felt by Him on that cross. Racism, Infertility, Death, Sin…It was all in the nails that pierced His hands. If you want to see peace you have to seek the only one who can provide it. You have to seek the only one who really knows the thoughts and intentions and pain. You have to seek Him. And He will tell you to look at the nail marks in His hands and feet, and see the wound in His side. The pain of this world? He felt it. And He healed it.

God can cover you with healing waters. He can make our hearts right. Maybe this week just take a moment to put down the phones. Turn off the news. Not because you don’t care about the pain in this world…but because you do. Instead step out of your front door and love people. Do something real and personal and up close. The only way to heal this world is through the authenticity of Jesus. Just get to know the people around you. Just hear their voices. Listen to their stories. Know people so you can love people. And give the burdens of this world to Jesus. He can take it…He already has.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

 

 

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