Summary: Is it possible to really feel another person’s pain? When are we willing to allow our selves to feel others pain. How did Jesus demonstrate the feeling of pain?
Other People’s Pain
My mother and father both said it.
I never believed it and I think I told them so.
They would always say it just before “IT” happened….
They would say “this is going to hurt me a lot more that it is going to hurt you!”
Has anyone said that to you?
Just as they told you to lie across their lap so they could give you a spanking.
I understand that for most of us in here it may have been a while since we experienced a wiping form a person that loves us.
But do you remember it? Or maybe do you remember saying those words yourself?
Is it possible to really feel another person’s pain? When I say pain, I an using it as abroad term….Grief, shame, guilt, despair, emotional stress and damage…
It seems a bit easier to join in a person’s joy. They are in a good mood and are fun to be around.
But to join someone in the valley of despair, or loss, or physical suffering, when you have no direct personal involvement is not an easy thing to do.
Generally, we don’t like the uncomfortable and painful situations.
When are we willing to experience pain….?
That seems pretty easy for most people…never…. if we can help it at all…right???
-- The question I have been struggling with this week is when or under what circumstances, will we allow ourselves to feel other people’s pain?
When I see the news and I see where someone that tried to get away from the police and have an accident…I am not willing the share any of the physical and mental pain. Or at least not very likely?
I don’t really know any “dare devils.” I have seen several of them.
SLIDES - Dare Devil accidents
Professional dare devils take calculated risks and get hurt sometimes. We see their mistakes on the news. When we see a crash we wince with some kind of sympathetic reaction.
SLIDE – POLICE Chaise
From time to time we witness non-professional dare devils taking risk, no control, no consideration for other people around them. We see them or sometimes the damage caused by their actions on the news too.
It is hard to feel the pain of their choices.
SLIDE – CAR ACCIDENTS
Some people end up in pain by no fault of their own, accidents, illnesses, can cause any number of people pain. We probably know lots of people like that. Friends and family that hurt in all kinds of ways.
People hurt each other sometimes, we can all cause pain in another person, and some people are very intentional in that. Ask a teenager what happens in their lives.
Slide – mental suffering
How about when a friend is living through a divorce or similar experience like the loss of a job or kids headed off to college or perhaps family problems?
Will we risk sharing in the pain and loss that they experience?
I think that we will try a little harder to be close.
Slide – hurt children
Or how about when one of our children has an accident? Do we have any empathy in that situation?
That is probably the easiest of my examples, because we will tend to scoop them up and hold them close. Even if they are not directly one of our children.
Perhaps it is not the physical pain that we share but our own emotional pain for letting something happen.
-- There are times when we choose to go to someone in pain out of obligation. It is not uncommon to give a few minutes here and there. But we sort of prefer to limit our exposure.
We can go to the funeral home when an acquaintance has a loss and spend a minute or two expressing our sorrow for their situation. We are sometimes surprised when the person seems moved by our simple gesture.
If it is a friend and we know the family we might stay a bit longer talking to other friends who come but, we are uncomfortable even if we are just visiting for an hour or so.
My point is that we sometimes will expose ourselves to other people’s situations.
When we do we may even feel some psychosomatic feelings that we are feeling their despair, grief or loss. But they are limited in the sharpness and we still want to get away as soon as possible.
I think we do that because we feel so helpless, we feel unable to make a difference.
--- What do you think Jesus felt as he walked this earth and talked to suffering people?
I want to remind you of a few scriptures where Jesus responded to different people’s situations.
SLIDE – JESUS and the Leper