When you see someone suffering, are you moved with sadness to compassion? Don’t you long to show them the love and kindness that every human being deserves? Even when the victim is a mean or miserable bastard, some of our heartstrings get plucked:
Seeing blameless victims moves us deeply. Most of us are also moved deeply when we see people suffering senselessly by their own hand. The better angels of our nature tell us that those who hurt themselves or others have some suffering in their own pasts.
So, how about you? For various reasons, we get conditioned into thinking that weakness is bad, so we don’t like to see ourselves as weak victims of suffering at the hands of another. What we like far less is any recognition that we have suffered at our OWN hands.
None of us can fully resist the power of shame. Aimed at it are all of our powerful psychological defenses and the insidious blame game. And that is why…
our own suffering fails to move us to the same depth of compassion for our own selves.
Yet, that is how God looks upon us. THIS is the “mind of Jesus.”
Most of us have some subconscious level of skepticism when we look at acts of altruism, but not when we look upon suffering. When most of us think of the story of Christ, we see the suffering of the crucifixion. It was a large act. We also bring to mind the many acts of compassion Jesus showed others, but we tend to do that collectively, as if it has to approach the size and scale of the crucifixion.
This sort of collectivization is a form of idealization. But it betrays the example of Jesus. We have ascribed too much grandiosity to the story of Jesus, so we lose sight of the person-to-person compassion he exemplified.
In our subconscious are some grand ideals that we subconsciously know are impossible to achieve as an individual. That distracts us from the tiny moment-to-moment opportunities we have to pour out love from inside of us.
We get consumed with thinking about the ultimate salvation of our soul and the perfection of our humanity, and we lose sight of how grandiose each small act of our loving truly is.
Large scale suffering easily elicits compassion. So, think of yourself as suffering on a large scale. For you, as an individual person, are as precious to God as the whole world is.
Let God save the world. Let God love the whole world. Let yourself love you and each face you touch moment by moment. Selflessness does not mean no self consideration. Touch your own self with the limitless compassion and love you think you aim only at others and the whole world:
God loves us not collectively, but each tender and suffering soul at a time. That’s what the Christ shows us.
Neil D. 2020-10-23