Learning to See the Hurting

Luke 7:13 – When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

When my son was in his second year of preschool, he was a little bit hesitant when we walked into the classroom on the first day.  Nothing too bad, no tears, but I could just tell he was nervous.  We walked in, hung up his backpack, said hello to his teacher and were looking to find an activity to get him engaged in before we left the room.  On our way over to the block station, we passed another child putting his folder away and heard him whimpering under his breath a little bit.  I said to Kaleb “That boy seems a little bit sad.  Why don’t you see if he wants to build with you?”  Kaleb walked up to the boy and said “Hi, my name’s Kaleb.  Want to build legos?”  The boys immediately hit it off and Kaleb considered Josiah his best friend the whole rest of the year.

Why is this so much easier when we’re kids?!?   When I’m at church and I see someone hurting, my initial response is not necessarily “Hi, I’m Jess.  Want to get a coffee?”  I really have to work to get to that point.  I’m an introvert so there is a definite internal struggle when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone, especially with people I don’t know.  But isn’t that what the church should be?  A place where hurting people can gather and welcome other hurting people who are afraid to admit that they’re hurting for fear they won’t fit in?  Little do they know, they fit in perfectly!  Because there’s always room at the table for more hurting people – ‘cause we’re all hurting; we’re all broken.

One of my favorite things about Jesus is how He saw people.  He didn’t just look at them, He saw them.  There are tons of examples of these throughout the gospels but one of my favorites is the widow of Nain.  This woman is in the middle of a funeral procession and Jesus sees her.  I remember learning about Jewish funeral processions in college – they are very loud.  In fact, people are hired to weep and wail and put on a “show”.  Even in the midst of all of this noise and chaos, Jesus saw this woman and reached out to her.

I need to take a lesson from Jesus. . .and my sweet 4 year old Kaleb. . .and work on seeing those who are hurting around me.  What about you?  Do you tend to stick in your own bubble?  Or are you good at really seeing what’s happening around you?

~Jess

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