Tipping the scales

God challenges us to experience empathy for those who are suffering. A Christian practices empathy, in order to demonstrate true, Christian love and mercy. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.

What is the true test of courage? Is it one’s willingness to put one’s body and ideas at risk? Or, is courage more than this. Any brute can sacrifice his body and many are the ideas that should die with the risk. Great are the enemies that have done this without even the smallest hint of courage. If taking on risk were the truest measure of courage, would not Hitler have been courageous? Yet, history has marked him the consummate coward.

Sometimes courage, true courage, is marked by something far more ordinary and far more brimming with great risk. In his book “Mere Christianity”, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.”

True courage is really a test of how well we choose to love and far less a test of physical strength or valor. Our ability to show mercy, even when that mercy is bestowed on the undeserving and undesirable, is a far better gauge of guts.

Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the bur- glar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a tick- et back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet -- which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! -- declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back.) (Today in the Word, October 8, 1992.)

The Bible tells us that we are to “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mis- treated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13:3) God challenges us every day to experience empathy for those who are suffering. A Christian is someone who practices empathy, steps into the shoes of the beleaguered and the oppressed, to demonstrate true, Christian love and mercy. This is the true mark of a courageous Christian: To love those we dislike so that on the morrow we will tip the scales of lovelessness in favor of love.

We pray. Heavenly Father, who is our neighbor? One of the problems in our lives dear Father is that we don’t ask this question of ourselves often. The reason is that there are many in this world that it takes courage to love, real courage to draw close to. Please help us to practice empathy in our lives Father, the ability to hurt for others, care for them and even more importantly love them. Forgive us Lord when we lack the courage to love the loveless, to show your love for those who do not love us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)

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