"Grace absorbs the pain"
When there is ill treatment, malice, thoughtlessness, dismissiveness, contempt - there is pain.
The ways people can damage each other are legion and it always hurts to be at the receiving end.
But what do we do with the pain?
I suppose it boils down to 3 choices: hit back, retreat or forgive.
The desire for revenge is pretty natural - after all, it seems only fair.
They have hurt you; they should pay.
Then there are those souls who feel that somehow they must have deserved being treated so badly, so they withdraw into themselves and become almost reclusive, afraid of being so hurt again.
The decision to forgive.
Thats a biggie
Because when there is bad treatment it causes pain and someone has to take that pain -
either the perpetrator by the repercussions of their actions - or
The forgiver, who decides not to retaliate.
The pain of forgiveness is real.
The story of Amy Biel and her parents is a legend in South Africa.
This young American student came to SA and poured herself out, helping black youth.
In a fit of rage they killed her - a national disgrace - a blight on our country.
Her parents, in a stunning display of grace, came here, publicly forgave the killers of their daughter and have worked tirelessly with these same young men, wanting the best for them.
We can be sure, it was agony for these parents to have lost their daughter in this way.
The brutality, the injustice, the senselessness of it must have made it worse.
It would have been natural for them to want to make these men suffer in turn for their deed.
Make them bear the pain.
But they didn't
They bore it, and let the others free.
Not only that, they blessed them in many ways - these killers of their beloved daughter.
That's not natural behaviour - it is way past what we can do naturally.
But it sure makes people ask "What gives them the ability to be like that?"
Which leads us back to Jesus Christ.
Thinking about Him, I was thanking the Holy Spirit for taking care of Jesus while He was in His mortal body (you may think thats a childish prayer!) and the thought ocurred to me that the sufferings of Jesus must actually have started much earlier than the Cross.
I hadn't really thought of it much before but - all that rejection, even from His family!
The rejection by His closest friends; the betrayal; the being misunderstood; the loneliness; the ingratitude -
This Man of grace absorbed so much, even before His final sufferings.
Is it possible that it is only by seeing this, that we are set free to be pain-absorbers too?