Can’t You Hear Your Brother Crying?

And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. Then they sat down to eat. Genesis 37:25-25a

A group of grown men seized their own flesh and blood brother, stripped him, threw him into a pit, and then commenced to sit down and eat a meal. They were immune to the despair they inflicted.

Consider how callousness starts. Brothers and sisters, even very young, reach out to hit their sibling and discover a surprising sense of glee when they realize they can make them cry. Good parents come and try to instill empathy. “You hurt your sister. Tell her you’re sorry!” And yet, the apology is hard to muster. Cruelty is in our fallen nature.

How will I develop keen sensitivity to others’ pain? How will I feel another’s sadness when I see pools of tears in their eyes? How will I feel enough remorse when my need for revenge caused me to injure someone profoundly? How will I come to regret an angry outburst against my child when I hear him whimpering in his room? Without God, the callouses of my heart grow thicker with the years. I can hear weeping and still walk away unmoved.

But with God, I am affected and changed by His Spirit that lives inside. When I see someone’s pain, His compassion rises and urges me to express it. When I wound another with my angry words, His Spirit convicts me and opens my eyes to see the damage. In this life, I will continue to sin, but when I do, I will discover that it’s possible to feel how God feels about it.  Spending time in the presence of God sharpens my recognition of good and evil and gives me the tender, teachable spirit of a toddler.

Spiritual regeneration happens when God turns back the clock to transform my hardened heart into someone with childlike sensitivities. No matter my age, I should be putty in His hands as He fashions my heart to beat like His.

Make me more aware of what moves you. Amen

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