Poetry Saturday—On Another’s Sorrow

Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird’s grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear—

And not sit beside the next,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant’s tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
Oh no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

Oh He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled an gone
He doth sit by us and moan. —William Blake

10 Benefits From Suffering

Horatius BonarCommenting on one of the opening passages in Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, Horatius Bonar shares ten benefits to Christians who will cling to God during times of suffering.

“The meaning and use of trial:

  1. It shows God to be in earnest with us. He does not let us alone. He takes great pains with our spiritual education and training. He desires fruit and progress.
  2. It assures us of His love.
  3. It draws us to prayer. When one member suffers all the others suffer with it. As soon as it is said, ‘such a brother or sister is in sorrow,’ all who hear of this begin to pray for the afflicted one. Thus sorrow becomes a magnet which attracts the prayers of the church.
  4. It knits us in sympathy to the whole body.
  5. It teaches us sympathy with brethren.
  6. It brings us into a mood more receptive of blessing. It makes our spirits tender, it softens our hearts, it makes our consciences alive, it empties us of adverse influences.
  7. It makes us prize the Word.
  8. It shuts out the world.
  9. It bids us look up.
  10. It turns our hope to the Lord’s great coming.”

Responding For Those Who Can’t

Do you know what empathy is? It’s not the same thing as sympathy. Sympathy is just wallowing with someone who is hurting, but empathy goes beyond that. Empathy is a compound word —

Em + Pathos =

Joined + Feelings =

I feel what you feel, but I can respond like you should even when you think you can’t.

Sometimes people get paralyzed by their deep hurts, or crushing depression, or infuriating anger. Someone in sympathy feels the pain, the depression, the anger, but their involvement stops at the feeling stage.

Someone in empathy feels the hurt AND responds in an appropriately healthy way.

Check out what Paul wrote

Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger? (New Living Translation)

When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut. (The Message)

He took those feelings his friends and loved ones were experiencing and he turned it into positive action. This is challenging, but desperately needed.

Sympathy is easy; empathy is hard work.

Sympathy keeps people paralyzed; empathy helps them move forward.

Sympathy enables people to remain unchanged; empathy gives people a healthy way to respond.

If you want to help your hurting, discouraged, or angry friend, don’t sympathize with her hurt, empathize to help her heal. Respond in a healthy way — a way she isn’t able to yet — and you will help her move to a place of wholeness.

The Power Of Touch

I grew up in a church that believed in the literal “laying on of hands” while praying for someone. I still like to pray that way because I believe there is a power in human touch.

Science has proven that human-to-human touch has helped people feel better faster, lowers blood pressure, and stimulates cognitive development in newborns.

We shake hands with people when we meet them as a sign of acceptance.

We lay our hand on a friend’s arm or shoulder to show we empathize with their pain.

We embrace or kiss a loved one to show affection.

Dr. Paul Brand, a renowned surgeon who worked with leprosy patients in India, said that his hands were his most delicate and most accurate diagnostic tool.

How devastating when we withhold our touch! How crushing when the only time we touch is when we are angry!

  • Think about how much more meaningful our prayers with someone would be if we would just lay our hands on them.
  • Think about how much warmer the greeting would be if we gave someone the two-hander handshake.
  • Think about how much greater our bond with a hurting friend if we simply put our arm around their slumping shoulders.
  • Think about how much deeper the connection with your spouse and children if you held hands more often.

Touch someone today. When you do, you’ll be touching much more than their hand; you’ll be touching their heart. Your touch could make a world of difference to someone today.

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