Monday, May 5, 2014

Lame Man, Blind Man

When a blind man carries a lame man both go forward.

Look around at your coworkers, at your friends. Look at yourself. Is the life that you are living making you the person you want to become or is there something better?

Are your coworkers the kind of people you want to become when you grow up or are they a bunch of nasty, gossiping, malicious, greedy rats who would gladly stick a knife in your back if it would benefit their ambitions. Some rats would gladly stick a knife in your back for the pure pleasure of harming another. I have seen it.

Are your friends bringing you down to their level? Do they encourage your weaknesses? Do they tolerate your bad behavior or do they challenge you to make yourself a better person?

Look around. It is a certainty that you will become similar to the kind of people you choose to bring into your life. I am not here to tell you who you should become. That question is between you and God. We are all born with different personalities. We all have different gifts. We discover different passions as we walk our unique path. Where and with whom we spend our time is one of the clearest signs that we are walking the right path or the wrong path. Surround yourself with the men and women you want to become.

Then what?

Your responsibilities do not end with yourself. We are all in this together. As you walk your path, with experience you will gain skills, confidence, and resources. It is inevitable that people will cross your path who need what you have to give. I believe God created the universe to work in that manner.

“Freely you have received, freely give.”

You can not fix people. You can’t make everything right for another human being. You can’t heal their pain or find the love they need to make their lives whole. All you can do is offer to share the best tools you have along with instructions on how to use them. Your goal is to help someone else become the person God intended them to be, free, strong, and well able to deal with the vicissitudes of life. Giving in a manner that allows another human being to remain weak, dependent, or wallowing in self pity is never a good thing. Once my wife tried to help a friend with the cost of a car repair; if that money did not go directly up her nose, it allowed other funds to be freed up for that purpose. Tragically, that woman died as she lived. Money can help, but money alone almost never helps.

People have to make hard decisions on how to live their lives. You can not make those decisions for them. You can show them the way. You can encourage them to take the first step, but you can not walk their path for them. As long as they are trying to grow it is your duty to help them grow. If you ever pity another in your life, there is something wrong in the relationship. The goal is compassion. Pity is something that we extend to that poor person over there. Compassion is born of a sharing of hearts, an understanding that we are both in this together. Since pity is normally felt at a distance, if you are feeling pity for a person you are trying to help, they are probably not hearing what you have to say. You have an obligation to continue to encourage, help, and support them as long as they are trying to better their situation. If not, there will come a time when you will need to step away.

It is important that you never forget where you came from or the people who helped you reach a better life. People will come and go in and out of your life as you better discover your path. Some are destined to become permanent fixtures in your circle of friends. Others will only be ships passing in the night. If they ever helped you, if they ever picked you up when you were weak, if they ever listened to you when you were alone in the night, don’t forget you have an obligation to be their friend. The day may come when you possess exactly what they need to take the next step in their life. If not, be ready to stand with them when the time comes. I believe that we will stand with such people not only in this life but in eternity.

"General Grant is a great general. I know him well. He stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk; and now, sir, we stand by each other always."
William Tecumseh Sherman

It is well known fact that President Ulysses S. Grant was an alcoholic. It isn’t as well known that General William Tecumseh Sherman suffered from severe depression. During the early days of the Civil War, he suffered from what was then termed “nervous exhaustion.” Many believed he was insane. These two great commanders fought the Civil War together. They supported one another when others wanted them destroyed. They never forgot where they came from or who stood beside them in their darkest hour.

Go thou and do likewise.

1 comment:

  1. Appreciated the distinction you made between pity and compassion. It's so easy to live isolated and insulated from other people, yet God calls us to be "incarnate" in the lives of others. The following passage from Paul came to mind as I read this blog: "[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, [4] who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. [5] For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. [6] If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. [7] Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort" (2 Cor 1:3-7). Thanks!