Things I Think…
Standing in the kitchen after school, my mom was describing an accident that my grandfather had earlier in the day. I’ll spare you the gruesome details but it involved his hand and a grinding stone. Hearing this, pain shot through my own hand and I felt as if I would pass out.
Fast forward to my teen years and a rare trip to the movie theatre.
It was rare because the closest theatre was fifty miles from my home and going to the movies just wasn’t part of our routine. In fact, the film we went to see was only the second one I’d ever attended.
The first had been “Snow White”…this one was for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.
The climactic scene of the movie is when the (now lobotomized ) hero is suffocated by his friend, who then dramatically escapes the asylum.
The climactic scene for the friends that accompanied me was when the lights came up and I was so visibly and audibly shaken by the film that I was utterly dysfunctional…and completely humiliated by that.
I was an empath…though that wasn’t the word most people used to describe a man who couldn’t control his feelings.
I’ve learned over the decades to control myself… and overcompensate for what most thought was a deficiency in my mental health.
Still, in my mind I live in a world where I feel everything and believe that this is a gift from God as much as a curse from hell…though sometimes I’m not sure which it really is.
I tell you all that to say that something has happened in our culture that troubles me greatly…a lack of empathy for anyone outside of our new tribal identities.
A lack of empathy dehumanizes others and strips them of personhood.
The sickest aspect of this is that one must first sacrifice your own humanity before you can rob it from others.
Without empathy, people become problems to be solved, or worse, enemies to be defeated.
No society …or country…can survive long without a feeling of commonality and shared humanity among all people despite their differences.
Many in favor of defeating other people who differ, do so believing they act in service for the Lord.
“Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.” (John 16:2–4 ESV)
Jesus warned us about acting this way…and instead directed us over and over again to love our “enemies”.
You have to acknowledge their personhood and feel empathy for them to do so.
That’s all I’m thinking about this week…because I’ve never felt so much anger from people in my lifetime.
I guess you could call it a prophecy update.
Make your own application…