Healthy Minds, Healthy Souls: How Suffering Builds Compassion

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

I like to think that there is more that unites humanity than divides us. But, amongst the many things that we all have in common, one thing is for sure, we will all experience suffering in some way, on some level, at some point in our lives. We will experience pain, sadness, sorrow or despair. We live in an imperfect world, filled with much joy, much celebration and much excitement, but also much trials and tribulations. So often we ask during these times, “Why am I going through this pain? Why has God not relieved my worry, my sorrow?”

We must all reach deep within or soul to remember that God did not inflict our pain and sorrow. Pain and sorrow are a result of the imperfect world that we exist in and the imperfect ways we have approached our existence. I have always felt that God is with all of us in our suffering, but I now know something else that I didn’t know before.

What I have now come to understand is that because of our trials, there is more beauty, love and authentic compassion that envelops our world today. When we experience trials, our ability to feel compassion grows a bit closer to its potential, as we are all only as good as the scope of our own experiences. One has a difficult time providing something to others that they have not ever experienced themselves.

As we experience suffering we come to truly understand the experiences of others. Prior to that, we want to help, we offer kind words or say we will pray for each other, but we can’t really relate to the experience of others’ suffering because its simply not in our brain’s filing cabinet of experience. We can’t feel what we have never experienced.

Trials in some way provide us with the scope of experience we need to feel compassion towards others. They soften our hearts to the experience of others allowing us to bring Christ into the world. Let us share Christ with others in joy, in sadness and in suffering. Let us remember one another during tough times and know that we are not alone.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

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