QWhy does it seem some people suffer more than others?
aLife is not fair. Some people get dealt a more challenging hand than others. When I consider this reality in the world, I ask myself two questions: How can I transform my personal suffering? and How can I help alleviate suffering? I am comforted when I remember that the Lord’s love is equally present and available to us all no matter our external circumstances.
“He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)
“Every created thing is by nature a recipient of God.” (Divine Love and Wisdom 56)
(Response by Bronwen Mayer Henry, New Church Connection Editor)
QHow can I help others through a difficult point in their life?
aOne way to help them is through the skill of showing empathy. Having empathy is one thing. Showing it is another. Showing it takes listening as well as speaking in ways that ensure that the other person feels understood.
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1)
(Response by Nathan Gladish, Pastor at Sunrise Chapel in Tucson, AZ)
QSomeone I care about is really stuck in a rut. How can I help them?
aIt’s the friend who complains about his job, yet never sends out his resume. It’s the parent obsessed with her health issues who won’t see a doctor. It’s the woman who stays with an abusive partner. These are people who we love, yet who seem to be stuck in a rut. How can we convince them to simply listen to us for a change? Maybe it’s time for us to change our question. Maybe instead of asking how we can change them, we need to ask ourselves, How can I break free from the desire to control this person?
(Response by Sasha Silverman, Content Developer of New Church Journey Programs)
QHow is God’s anger different than ours?
aThere’s a great conflict in the Bible between statements that the Almighty is the “God of Love,” and images of an angry God smiting disobedient people. But this isn’t actual anger, it just looks like anger to us,
“Hence it is that the zeal of the Lord, which in itself is love and compassion, appears to them as anger” (Secrets of Heaven 8875)
It’s similar to a parent’s love for her child. If the child were to run into the street, she would likely shout and appear angry but is really trying to protect him. What is perceived as anger is really just the Lord bursting with love for us and sad that we are choosing a path that leads further from Him. It is zeal, which comes from love, not anger like the emotion we finite beings experience.
(Response by Michelle Chapin, Assistant Editor of New Church Connection)