Sympathy

In our 24-hour commute to life, do we have even thirty minutes to drop by the Station called Sympathy? Thirty minutes is not much, considering that we still have 23 hours and 30 minutes for ourselves, to do our chores, to catch some sleep, to cook dinner, to get a sip of coffee, or have lunch, to watch DVD, to exchange pleasantries, to chat on the Net, to argue with a neighbor over dog poop, to go malling. The Lord does not even demand thirty minutes. But a few seconds will do.

That’s a few seconds to think whether we should sympathize with the likes of Congressman Wahab Akbar, with the three Muslims who perished in the police raid, with the thousands who had perished in the cyclone that swept through Bangladesh, with the little girl from Davao who killed herself because she was fed up with life, with those fellows who perished in riots in Myanmar or Pakistan, with those who died in the fires in California, in typhoons in Asia, in earthquakes in Iran and China, in the suicide bombs in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and Lebanon, in Columbine shooting in the US, as well as with those in 9-11. And for the rape victims. Remember the dead, the ones who were hurt, and the ones still hurting.

I mean just sympathize. And pray. Sympathy and prayers for them who were left behind–the widows, the orphans, the extended family of those who had perished, just anyone who was hurt. Sympathy is above the politics of war and religion. Sympathy sees beyond the color of the skin. It evades the rhetorics of hawks in Congress and on the Net. It is blind to racist displays one sees on TV, and deaf to racist remarks.

When you sympathize, you cease to argue about the wrongness or rightness of the act of terrorism, because that belongs to the court; you cease to think whether the victims deserved it or not, because this is an area God alone can decide. Statements like “they who use the sword shall die by the sword,” or, “only God knows what those people may have done, and they probably deserve what they got” is not in the preview when one sympathizes. We are neither the Sanhedrin council, nor the authority in the land. We are just God’s people trying to live peacefully in this war-torn world.

The biggest war is not World War III, it is the war within us; the greatest enemy is not the suicide bombers and terrorists, it is us. I won’t fight any war in this world because I am leaving it for a better world anyway. I won’t fight this physical war in the world, because I am waging a much bigger war in my soul. The reason is focus. Where is your focus.

Don’t misunderstand. I am against any form of terrorism, of any act to hurt our fellowman, and I will do what is in my power to convince the terrorist to stop or cease and desist. But that is all I can do. I cannot police the ranks of evil men. I hedge, I avoid. I leave their company, because I am determined in my quest to find the company of angels and cherubs when these days are over, when time is better, and that will be on the last day. I cannot take vengeance against my enemy because God says vengeance is His. My focus is on something nobler and more profound.

The biggest war is waged in our souls; it is a war against the old nature that still remains in us. The spiritual battlefield is littered with the carcasses of men and women who have been victims of their own passions, who have succumbed to their own cares, who have refused to battle the enemy that is in them. A battle half-waged is a battle unwon.

To win the war is to have a change of character. We cannot guarantee however that if we change, others too might change. Perhaps they will. I pray that they will. It is God’s will that they should change.

There is another great reason too why we should sympathize and pray. Because of what we will have and what we will be. Evil men do a lot of damage to properties, to bodies and souls. But it is my belief that when the war by evil against evil is going on, the Christians– the true followers of Jesus– will be safe and secure. They are a people protected from harm. Jesus promised that. Victims of terrorists’ war they may be, but their souls are protected.

And when evil men from eternity to eternity–from Adam’s days to our future days– will be judged, and consigned to the Great Conflagration that sees no end, then the people of the Lord will be the last men standing. It is because we trust in the great God who cannot lie.

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