Upon hearing of someone facing such dire predicament as losing a loved one or fighting for their life, I can’t help but feel bad for them and their loved ones, as it is far from being an easy situation. I empathize with them because years ago I too was fighting for my life. So I struggle with not internalizing the troublesome headlines regarding brutal attacks, murder and abuse of power. I carry the grief of those affected by the reported tragedies; I also share their anguish in situations that are direct results of injustice.
While many people are able to empathize with victims of accidents or natural disasters, it has been disconcerting to witness others’ insensitivity toward the demise of those in crisis. That applies to taking other people’s lives due to dissatisfaction in life or discrimination. No matter what anyone has done, it does not justify murdering them, as every life is precious. It is also inhumane to shoot a person or beat them to death due to their ethnicity and/or social rank. Whether the perpetrator is an authority figure or a civilian, it is unfair to have no consideration for another’s life. In such instances, compassion seems to be nonexistent. In reading news reports about any tragedy, I am dumbfounded to see the comments, most of which are ridicules and insults toward the person(s) facing the tragedy. That triples when they are celebrities, who happen to be fellow human beings with the same feelings we all have (fear, hurt, and shame etc.). Somehow it becomes acceptable to speak of another individual facing a calamity in a derisive manner, with no concern as to what that person and their family must be going through in the moments following their tragedy. It was sad to read the comments following the news reports in a recent event. When one commentator suggested a bit of compassion toward the individual in question, one of the responses was “Save your compassion for someone who deserves it”. Everyone is deserving of compassion. We would all be wiped out long ago if it weren’t for God’s compassion toward us.
What’s alarming is that the scarcity of sensitivity seems to go unnoticed. The decline in compassion is scary because it seems to have become very easy to cross over to the other side and stop caring without even realizing it; that is a sobering thought. Life could be so much easier and simpler if we were to sympathize and “laugh with those who are laughing, and mourn with those who are mourning”. Uplifting one another would benefit us more than tearing one another down, especially in times of crisis. A little love goes a long way. Love can bridge the gap between different views, race, religion, and socioeconomic status. In dealing with others, love can make us see a human being as opposed to a poor person, one who’s uneducated (or not educated enough), the color of their skin, or their level of popularity/fame etc. Love enables us to see beyond an individual’s undesirable actions to empathize with them. Love forces us to want to know all the facts before making any assumptions about our fellow men. Love prompts us to pray for a complete stranger as we drive pass an accident site, because it is a person whose loved ones would be devastated if they were to lose them. With love we see the person before everything else.
“Let my heart break for the things that break the heart of God”
Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD