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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Listening and Love

"Jesus wept."

This is the shortest verse in all of canonized scripture, yet to me it has one of the deepest meanings. The context of this scripture is the story of Lazarus and when Jesus raises him from the dead. Jesus was well acquainted with Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha, who were all followers of the Savior. He had shared His teachings with them before and it seems like they were His friends too. When they told Jesus that Lazarus had been dead for at least 4 days, He already knew this. He knew that He had the power to bring Lazarus back to life as well, and that He would do that. From Jesus' perspective, there was no problem. There was not anything to be sad about. However, when He saw these people whom He loved crying and in despair over the loss of their family member, He had compassion and wept with them. Some people may think that they cannot relate to Jesus because He led a perfect life. But, it is important to note that although Jesus had great knowledge and understanding, He also felt human emotions. He wanted to understand the sorrow, pain, frustration, confusion, loneliness, joy, faith, hope, and love that mortals experience.

In this story, Jesus also shows us a great example that we can apply in our daily lives. Sometimes, like I'm sure all of us have experienced, a friend will come to me with a concern or issue of theirs. They may complain about it and express their feelings of fear, low self-confidence, sadness, and pain. From my perspective, the answer to their problems can often seem quite clear or it may seem like they are overreacting. My first instinct is to tell them that it isn't as bad as it seems, or to offer reasonable solutions for the issue at hand. However, what most people truly need is just to feel loved and understood. They will figure out the solutions to their problems over time and with patience, work, and faith. God gives us these problems to work through so that we can grow. Sometimes, we just need to let others work out their own concerns. Most often what we can do to truly help is give a listening, compassionate ear and mourn with them. Jesus clearly knew that everything would work out with Lazarus. He could have told Mary and Martha that they did not need to be sad because Lazarus would live again. But, He is loving and compassionate and wants to give us comfort and assurance. He feels sad when we are sad, even though everything is under control in the eternal scheme of things. In the same way, we should all strive to be a little more patient and compassionate with those around us. Criticism never helps anyone. When we love others and help to carry their burdens, that is when true power comes. So many barriers can be broken down through a simple act of listening and love.

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