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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tragedies, Negativity, and Losing compassion

Someone tells us a life story. We love stories, especially from people whom we don't encounter regularly.
I love to hear stories from a lady, about her escape from Eastern Germany. Honestly, I can listen her talking for hours. She is a great testimony. Her stories, however, contain a lot of pain and trials. At some points her life was in danger.
How about books and movies? We love dangerous plots, where hurt involved. Most people will say that the plot is boring when no tragedies happen. We remember turning plot points better than the rest of the plot.
How about tragedies? We focus on tragedies a lot. We pay a lot of attention to the details. We remember bad things more than we remember good things. We may not remember how much good the person had done, or not remember the details of all the good deeds, but, one mishap, and we tend to remember it for the rest of our lives. We forgive, but not forget.
It seems like we never dwell much on good. Small things have power to spoil our days.
We love to hear about pain and trials as long as we are not part of it. As long as those stories are on pages or on movie screens, we love reading them. We cringe when those stories become part of our lives.

Losing Compassion

Negativity drains out compassion from us. When we lose compassion, we become very judgmental.
Most people have multiple excuses to judge others. 
I have started reading Scarlet Letter. The story takes place in xvii century Boston, Massachusetts, USA. A young woman—Hester Prynne is punished because of the adultery. Eventually she is freed from jail. Hester settles in a cottage on the outskirts of Boston. She makes meager wages by sewing. The society, pretty much shunned the woman and her daughter, who was born because of the adultery.
Society loves to judge. In many cases the children are judged harder. I can testify, children can be more cruel than adults. As a child, I was afraid of other kids more than I was afraid of adults, even though I suffered from the hands of both groups: adults and children.
Suffering leaves you two choices: become more compassionate or lose your heart. It's easy to lose heart. Suffering gives way to self-pity. Self-pity brings focuses on individual pain and suffering. When we help spent too much time in self-pity, we are unable to understand other people. We cannot help neither ourselves nor anyone else.
Once we lose compassion, we can justify many horrible acts towards other people.  In most cases people who commit horrendous crimes have justification for their acts. Genocides take place because one group of people views other group of people as inferior elements Choosing compassion is not natural response. But when we show God's love to others we follow the greatest commandment, which is to love others.
"But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!"-Matthew 5:44
The above verse is one of the hardest in the Bible because it goes against the natural response. First church lived out that verse. We would rather trample upon persons heart, who needs love and compassion.
Lines from "Scarlet Letter" talking about how people were ready to trample upon Hester's heart.




  1. Dear Irina,
    I read Scarlet Letter, too,,,long time ago, when I was in high school. Since I was not a Christian at that time, I could not understand the internal turmoil of the young pastor who committed adultery with Hester.

    Reading your insightful and deep post made me re-think of my own heart attitude. Do I write, say and deal with people with compassion (regardless of some differences of opinions with them)or not? O may His love always dwell in me so that I testify the truth with His calvary love. Thank you so much for this wonderful post, Irina. Have a blessed weekend!

    1. Dear Kinuko,
      I was introduced to the book 10 years ago. I didn't give a second thought to the pastor's turmoil. In fact, I pretty much despised the man.

      But now, I look at the character from a different point. What a torture living next to your own daughter and not being able to tell her that you are the father.

  2. I also knew this story when I was young,and felt that many people have negative impression on the words 'puritan' because of such kind of judgemental attitude in old days.

    Bible tells what sins are.We have to take it seriously.But whom we have to fight with is ourselves. Other's sins does not mean God's permission for us to judge them.

    With compassion,not admitting licentiousness..We need wisdom from Him.
    Thank you for sincere post.


    PS I read your prayer request on twitter.May God give your grandfather what he needs.And God be with you always.

    1. Sanae,
      Thank you so much for your prayer. I agree with your statement. We need to guard our own hearts. We need wisdom indeed.