4.29.2007

What is my obligation to those who suffer?

After I sent that e-mail to Brandon, (see previous post) we talked about what i was struggling with the next Sunday. (specifically I'm struggling with the gap between halves and halve nots, and questions on suffering. In this case I have great health and Brandon does not.)

When we had talked the previous Sunday, he wasn't so sure i owed him anything, but after reading my e-mail he could see where I was coming from. However he still had some concerns. The main one was dependency. From the disabled person's perspective, it isn't going to do much good to go around thinking that people owe them. A wow-is-me attitude is a recipe for disaster for the disabled person.

Brandon also wanted to make perfectly clear that I was never going to be able to identify with him in any real physical way. In other words i could have empathy, but never sympathy, which I completely agree with.

Brandon's other concern was a little broader, dealing with the matter of Biblical interpretation. "How does one know they are doing justice to the intentions of the original authors of the Bible and what does that have to do with the hear and now?" was essentially what Brandon was saying, in this case on the matter of suffering and sharing each others burdens. All I'll say here is: exactly.

What Brandon and I finally agreed on is that in his case maybe there is little I can or even should do for him physically speaking, but there are many that don't have the resources he does. Cyra, his wife, is an amazing woman, marrying this man in spite of the condition that has landed him in a wheal chair. (or maybe because of it, I don't know) If anyone suffers right along side Brandon, it is certainly her, setting an amazing example for all of us. Additionally, Brandon owns his own business. He's not rich by American standards, but he has what he needs. Unfortunately this is not the case for everyone who lives life from a chair on wheels. Many many people are not only poor but suffer a great deal do to physical handicaps. So my questions remains. In light of what the scriptures say (see previous post) what is my obligation to those who suffer?

1 comment:

Joe said...

Sir Best,

I don't know if you have any obligation to those who suffer, which is everyone.

Whether it's someone in a wheelchair, someone living near where bombs fall, someone who is hungry, or someone deeply struggling with the question of suffering, I think the thing to do is be with the person. Be with them in prayer. Be with them when they're standing in front of you. Listen. Meet God there. Then, as it is with friends, you might be able to give some assistance.

I don't have a Bible verse to back that up, though.