I walked out on "The Patriot" and "Braveheart" because the blood made my stomach turn. It doesn't take much to make me cry when I see the suffering of others.
I can avoid the grisly movies. But reality struck hard when my oldest child was sick for the first time. I had the crazy idea that, once I became a mother, God would give me an iron stomach.
After all, my mother never flinched whenever I woke with the flu or came home with a scraped knee. I hope I'm not the only mother whose gag factor goes into overdrive.
I learned to control my physical reactions because I love my children. Meeting their needs blurred any discomfort I experienced. I soon learned the strength of a mother's love, for when my three week old youngest child went into surgery, I would have endured that surgery for her to protect her from pain.
Christ calls us to help the weak because it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). He commends those who clothe the naked, feed the hungry and visit the sick and imprisoned (Matthew 25:34-36). Pure and faultless religion is to look after the widow and orphan in their distress (James 1:27).
Distress can be unpleasant and messy. If I want to help others, I'll have to see their hurt. And Jesus never promised my emotional gag factor or my tear ducts would go on lock-down. In fact, He tells me to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).He asks me to take up my cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).
Carrying a cross means I might get splinters in my hands. I might have to see blood, wipe away tears and clean up vomit in order to share the love of Jesus with those who need Him most. I might have to walk across broken glass caused by the violence of a storm or a domestic temper. I might have to hold a broken hand. I may be called upon to weep over a broken heart.
Let's not deceive ourselves. Serving God can be uncomfortable.
Just like a mother has to swallow hard to push down her physical reaction when cleaning up after a sick child, we will feel physical and emotional discomfort when we reach out to the hurting.
We'll get dirty. We'll get blood on our hands. We'll feel anger at the messes families get themselves into. We'll feel emotionally drained and physically exhausted from holding the hands of the dying. Jesus didn't say it would be easy. He said it would be more blessed.
Consider our Lord's example. Jesus was willing to look at our brokenness in all its ugliness. He allowed himself to be inconvenienced, hurt, even killed so he could remove our burden of sin. "By his wounds, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5)." It is because of His love for us that we have the responsibility to love others - even when it hurts to do so.Karen Wingate recently spent several days in tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri where seeing the devastation made her cry and hearing the stories of how God's people helped the hurting gave her renewed hope.