In the Gospel of Mark, there is a short, odd story about how Jesus healed a man with leprosy.
40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” - Mark 1:40-41
One way of translating the phrase "Jesus was indignant" in Greek is by saying something like, "When he saw the man, it was a gut-wrenching moment for Jesus."
Do we get angry when we see injustice, disease, poverty and evil in the world? Do we feel for people in gut-wrenching ways when we see them lost, lonely, miserable, sick and afraid?
Or are we too engrossed in our own lives, our own junk to notice the pain and suffering in the world around us? Or to put it in the terms of our current culture: Are we so obsessive over what's happening in our Facebook feed that we can't even see the people who are posting on it?
Social media has given us a resource for awareness like no other in history, but because of our increasing self-obsession, and desensitization to suffering, we tend to use it to hold suffering at arm's length.
Here's what I've learned about myself regarding social media: The more I obsess over social media, the more I care about me and the less I care about others.
On the other hand, here's what I've learned about myself regarding my relationship with Jesus: The closer I get to Jesus, the less I care about me, and the more I care about others.
And the closer I get to Jesus, the more I feel that gut-wrenching feeling inside that makes me want to do something about the things that are wrong in the world---actually do something about them, not retweet them.
As followers of Jesus, we need to learn what it means to exhibit true compassion in this selfie-centered world. It changes lives when we show compassion, not the least of which is our own.
So show true compassion this week. And remember that caring is not liking a post, it's loving a person. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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