These are difficult times we live in. Individuals, families, churches and entire communities are experiencing testings and trials and are suffering in various ways. As someone who is no stranger to trials, I empathize with those who are going through difficulties. I’ve noticed that when things get tough, it is human nature to judge and point fingers. I’ve watched over and over in my own life and in the lives of others that people who are suffering are easy targets for judgers and fixers.
The judgers want to tell you why you are in the situation you find yourself in and the fixers want to tell you exactly how to get out. Both are operating in pride, and most of us have been guilty on both counts. When you are on the receiving end of this it brings everything from condemnation to anger, and leaves you with even more to deal with than before!
So with the times we are in becoming more difficult, I thought it was worth re-posting this.
1 Chronicles 21:13
“I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for His mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”
The deeper our distress, the more we long to be in the hands of God. Jesus is just so kind. He understands our plight. He is the incarnation of the mercy seat; that place covered by His blood and filled with the presence of God. Oh, to be in that place when we are hurting!
Unfortunately, we have all had times of distress when we have fallen into the hands of men. Sometimes even the most well meaning humans create more distress because they unwittingly operate from the position of the judgement seat rather than that of the mercy seat. This is the difference between having compassion and “feeling sorry”.
True compassion is born out of suffering that has given birth to empathy. Jesus had (and has) compassion for people because He chose to identify with us in humanness and suffering. Those who merely feel sorry for others have distanced themselves from the suffering of others and say with the pharisees, “Thank God I’m not like that!” Sometimes they even take a kind of perverted comfort in the sufferings of others. Other times they are the types who know just what the problem is and have the simple solution that will change your situation. The ten commandments were the simple solution. If everyone just followed them, things would go well. The only problem is, the law was never meant to be the solution.
Jesus came to be the solution. He didn’t come to point out the pain and suffering and sin and sickness. He came to become the pain and suffering and sin and sickness. He became it, to conquer it, so that we could find our life in Him and operate from the mercy seat.
We have to continually humble ourselves in order to receive mercy and give it to others, and we have to guard our hearts so that we do not become like the Pharisees. To identify with Christ means to be intimately aware of our own brokenness and need for Jesus and to identify with the suffering and brokenness of humanity. We can only give as much mercy as we realize we have received. As humans, we really want to have answers for people and their problems. We can’t always give answers, but we can always give mercy.
Hebrews 2 18For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] [c]to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering].