The picture still burns in my mind. It is a haunting reminder of the energy I spend avoiding the cost of loving others. I establish an emergency relief fund instead of inviting hungry families to sit at my table. I develop a housing program to avoid the turmoil of displaced families living in my home. I create employment projects that distance me from the aggravation of working with undisciplined people. As a counselor I maintain some detachment with a fifty-minute hour and an emphasis on client self-responsibility. And even as I share the gospel with the needy, I secretly hope that God will handle their problems.
Of course I don't allow myself to think this way very often. I choose rather to concentrate on the positive things I am doing for people, helpful things, right things. But when I am honest with myself, I must admit that I cannot fully care for one who is suffering without entering into his pain. The sick must be touched if they are to be healed. The weak must be nourished, the wounded embraced. Care is the bigger part of cure.
Yet I fear contagion. I fear my life will get out of control, and I will be overwhelmed by the urgent affairs of others. I fear for my family. I resist the Christ who beckons his followers to lay down their lives for each other. His talk of a yoke, a cross of bearing one another's burdens and giving one's self away is not attractive to me. The implications of entering this world of suffering as a "Christ-one," as yeast absorbed into the loaf of human need, are as terrifying as death itself. Yet this is the only way to life. The question is, will I choose life?
From Theirs Is the Kingdom by Robert Lupton