Do we treat the suffering with kindness?
Imagine Christ, bloody, beaten, with some of his flesh falling off of his holy body. When we see him what is our reaction? Do we embrace him or do we throw up first or worse, run? Mother Teresa was wont to scrape dying bodies off of pavement because the souls of the poor were deserving of a dignified death. What of you and I?
I think the reality is that we often see the suffering, even those suffering as innocents, and find them revolting. My childhood dog was dying of cancer, a sad sight indeed. Our other much younger dog was angry with her, and would growl at her. They say the healthy animals will often turn on the dying. She raised him, protected him, taught him, and in the end she was the object of disdain. Who had been a friend was now a foe all because of suffering, because the strong didn’t value the weak. So many bad ideas are based on trying to make the weak strong instead of recognizing them as inherently valuable.
Job’s friends saw him suffering as Christ and said he needed to be more righteous. Even if it was true that he had brought this suffering upon himself, the friends of Job were harsh beyond words. They thought if they bombarded their friend with many words his eyes would suddenly open, and he would see that he had committed some horrific sin, no matter that he solemnly swore before God that he hadn’t done anything like that. His friends didn’t really think he was guilty, they just didn’t want to believe that God would make an innocent man suffer that much, they wanted to believe that God’s way was the easy way, the way of riches and of honor. Isn’t that why we crucified Christ, not because we denied he was of supernatural origin, but rather because he wasn’t willing to use his supernatural power to give us what we wanted, which for the Jews was the defeat of all their enemies and reclamation of the promised land. They wanted Christ to be a general.
Anyways, this experience, the way my younger dog treated the dying one, isn’t peculiar to dogs. People act like animals all the time, and they love to beat someone who has fallen down, just like they beat Christ when he had fallen and then went so far as to nail him to a cross.
What will our reaction be when we see him, bloody and beaten? Will we blame him and close our hearts in incredulity, or take responsibility, thus opening the door of our heart’s wound so that blood and water might rush in from within us, healing us.