Bottom Line - February 2017
A letter from Stan Bower to the businessmen in the St. Louis region:
Sometimes it seems that the speed of life … and the pain of life … are going at Mach 1. I recently met with a man and asked specific questions about how his family was doing. I saw the pain in his eyes, knowing his heart was bursting, and watched the tears well up like rising floodwaters. So what was the proper response to his pain? Two things needed to be considered: 1. what was his need in the midst of the pain 2. how should I respond emotionally to him?
His need was comfort. My thoughts came from 2 Corinthians 1:3-8 but focused on verses 4-6: ‘… who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;’
How did I feel when I heard his story and how did I respond emotionally to him? I felt his pain and sense of loss, as well as the confusion over exactly what to do. I knew he needed comfort, and told him, “I am so sad for all the pain you are going through”. Then I hugged him … long enough to express that I truly cared about his heartache.
Most people we encounter have a great need for comfort and understanding. I encourage you - listen to them and hear their hearts. God gives us huge moments of life-connection so that others know we care for their soul and their concerns.
In Matthew 9:13, Jesus states, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Interesting fact: “But go and learn what this means…” I had to learn about compassion through life experiences that the Lord led me through. Now I understand the critical need for compassion, as well as the true source of compassion.
Learning to listen with my heart,
Stanley A. Bower