Living with a Heart
There was a girl bagging groceries at the store I recently visited. She was just a young girl and I didn’t pay much attention to her. She helped me unload my cart and I smiled cordially and proceeded to go to stand in front of the cashier. After completing my purchase, and while I was signing the print pad, she said, “I can take your bags out for you!” Her statement wasn’t the normal, “Would you like me to help you out to your car?” It was more akin to, “Would you let me take your bags to your car?”
I looked up into her face while responding, “No, thank you.” This is when I saw that she had some kind of palsy. Half of her face sagged a bit, not unlike a stroke victim. But even with this, I saw that she was crestfallen at my response. She was disappointed and her face registered rejection. I wasn’t rejecting her, but she obviously lived with much rejection and I was just another person to reject her.
This crushed my heart. I wanted to go back and say, “I’m sorry, you can help me!” It was so painful to my heart. If I’d meditated on it a bit, I probably would’ve teared up. It’s tough to live in this world with a heart.
The Heart My Achilles’ Heal
Jennifer and I were just talking about the heart the other day. We were talking about it as it related to AI (artificial intelligence). I was saying that if they created a robot that was indistinguishable from a human, I would have a difficult time not having my heart engaged. She brilliantly said, “This is why Satan so easily can dupe us.” Our blessing and curse is that we have the Achilles’ heel of a heart. It’s both our strength and our weakness. And I find it very difficult, actually impossible, to not have it pricked quite regularly. I hurt when people are ugly, I grieve when another is in pain, and I rage when people are awful. It’s tough to live in this world with a heart.
But here is the truth about that statement: as a Christian, I am not given the opportunity to do otherwise. Born-again believers have to live open-hearted, as Jennifer told me just today. And I wholeheartedly agree. We, His children, have to walk in the world He died for with our hearts open—hearts that bleed, hurt and feel just as He Himself did when He walked on this earth. Though His allegiance was the Will of the Father, His heart was touched by our humanity.
He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since He Himself is subject to weakness.
Hebrews 5:2 NKJV
Carry With Me MY Heart
Yes, He asks us to share in His suffering as a part of fellowship with Him. Imagine, He yearns for me to share His burden for humanity. Not in human goodness, which there is none, but in true compassion that only comes from the Spirit of the Living God.
How changed are my ambitions! Now I long to know Christ and the power shown by His resurrection: now I long to share His sufferings, even to die as He died, so that I may perhaps attain as He did, the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10 Phillips
I don’t know this young girl or her heart but Christ does. He is aware and acquainted with her suffering, her hopes, her dreams and her life. I am just an open heart able to receive His concern for her. My human compassion has only pity or some self-focused affinity with her pain, but Jesus knows her heart and is able to actually effect change in her life. Though I once had a high opinion of my compassion, I now see that our High Priest is the only one who can selflessly be touched by our infirmity.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 BRG