March 29, 2015
A part of the chapter that I’d like to focus on Hebrew chapter 4 is beginning there in verse 14 where the Bible reads, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
What I want to preach about this morning is the subject of having sympathy for other people. That’s exactly what the Bible’s saying here in verse 15 when it says, “We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” You see, Jesus Christ is one who can have compassion on us and sympathy with us because of the fact that he has lived through everything that we’ve gone through. He’s been tempted in all points like as we are, yet He was without sin.
In fact, eight times, the Bible specifically directly mentions Jesus as having compassion on someone. The word ‘compassion’ means sympathy. It’s pretty much an exact synonym of the word ‘sympathy.’ Go to Romans chapter number 12. We could spend an entire sermon just talking about Jesus Christ sympathizing with people and having compassion on people and go through all these different instances in His life. I what I want to focus on this morning is how we should sympathize with other people in our lives.
Now, first of all, look at Romans chapter 12 verse 15, just to help you understand what it means to sympathize with people. It says in Romans chapter 12 verse 15, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep.” What does that mean? Feel what they’re feeling. Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and try to understand what they’re going through and what they’re coming from; is what the Bible is saying. It says in verse 16, “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.” What does it mean to condescend to men of low estate? Try to understand what it’s like in their position and sympathize with them.
Flip over to chapter 15, just a few pages to the right in the Bible. Romans 15 verse 1 says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves. Let everyone of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Now, watch this. Now, the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.
The Bible says that God is the God of patience and the God of consolation, and that God wants us to be like-minded one toward another. If Jesus Christ can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, if Jesus Christ has compassion on us and sympathize with us, and if he will have patience with other people and console other people when they’re going through a bad time, he says, “We should be like-minded one toward another,” and have that same spirit that was in Christ Jesus. Look at the next verse. It says, “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”
He’s saying God is patient with us. We should be patient with other people. We should console other people. Just as Christ received us, we should receive one another. Of course we sing the famous song, “Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come. Just as I am …” Jesus Christ isn’t waiting to accept us until we’re perfect, until we’ve turned from all our sins, has become such a popular teaching. No, actually, we come to Jesus Christ by faith and he will receive by faith.
Whosoever believeth should not perish but have eternal life. He says we’ll then receive one another just as he has received us. What I get from this also and flip over if you would to Titus chapter 3, is that, “We should be patient with people who are on a different level spiritually than where we are.” It’s easy for us sometimes who’ve been saved for five years or 10 years or 20 years. I, myself, personally have been saved for 27 years. It’s pretty easy to get to a point where you get frustrated with other people and you don’t understand that other people are maybe newly saved or they’ve only read the Bible a little bit, maybe they’re barely in Church, and then you just freak out because they have some doctrine wrong or because maybe they have some sin in their life that you got rid of 10 years ago.
You have to remember that there was a time when you were a babe in Christ. There was a time when you were even unsaved and doing all kinds of bad thing and saying all kinds of stupid things, and believing all kinds of false things, and often times, I can’t even believe what’s some people’s doctrine is. I’m that, “How in the world can anybody believe in this?” I remember that when I was a teenager, I believed in that because that’s what I was taught in my Church. He’s saying, “We need to be patient with people and we, that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.”
Not to just think to ourselves, “Oh, aren’t they pathetic.” No. When it says ‘strong’ there by the way, that’s not talking about a bodybuilding contest. When it says ‘those that are strong,’ he’s talking about strong spiritually. He’s talking about those that are mature in the faith, those that have great spiritual strength. He’s saying, “They need to bear the infirmities of the weak.” What does it mean ‘to bear the infirmities’? To put up with the infirmities, the weaknesses that other people have, and to be patient with them and to understand. Look what it says in Titus chapter 3 verse 2. It says, “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” Verse 3, “For we ourselves also, we’re sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived.” Do you see that? That’s something to keep in mind.
Look, be patient with other people because we ourselves also used to be foolish. You say, “Oh, I’ve never been foolish.” I guarantee you that every person in this room has been foolish because the Bible says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” We all were born into this world and lived the early part of our lives doing a lot of stupid things because we were children. All children do foolish things. I’m sure many of us were foolish in our teenage years or even into our adult life. He said to just keep in mind, just remember that we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers less than pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
After that, the kindness and love of God our savior toward man appeared. Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy, He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost which is shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, to be justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
It’s not our goodness or our righteousness that has brought us to the point that we are today. It’s the fact that Jesus Christ has saved us by His mercy, by His grace and that He has patiently taught us and chasing us and disciplined us. It took us years to get where we are today or even decades to get where we are today. We need to always remember that we used to be wrong on a lot of thing. We used to do a lot of wrong things and we need to be patient with the fact that other people might just be at a lower level spirit side but they’re on their way to becoming something better.
What I look at with people is just what direction are they going. I’m not going to sit there and look down on somebody because they’re a babe in Christ, because they’re a new believer. Now, when I see somebody just going the wrong direction getting worse and worse and worse, that’s problem. If I see somebody who’s in a bad place spiritually but they’re learning, they’re growing, yeah we need to be patient when people take time to learn and grow and so forth. Not only does the Bible teach that we should sympathize with those who are at a lower level spiritually, the Bible also teach that we should sympathize with those who are going through suffering in their life.
Now, go to the book of Hebrews chapter number 13. What does it mean ‘to sympathize’? It means to feel what they’re feeling. “To rejoice with them that rejoice. To weep with those who weep.” To be able to put yourself in their shoes and say, “Wait a minute, here’s a person who’s saying something stupid or doing something stupid, but you know what, I’ve done stupid things. I’ve said stupid ... Try to put yourself in their position. A lot of times, people will be suffering and going through really hard things in their life and that’s why they’re being a jerk to you. You might think to yourself, “Man, this guy is really being a jerk.” Or “This person was really rude to me.”
Sometimes, you just don’t know what kind of things that are going on in their life that are making them act that way. You have to sympathize with them. I mean think about it. What if you lost a child? What if you lost your job? What if you found out some horrible news and somebody comes and talk to you, would you maybe snap at them or be rude to them just because you’re going through something else bad in your life? You have to be able to sympathize with people and understand what they’re going through. Look at what the Bible says in Hebrews 13 verse 3. It says, “Remember then that are in bonds as bound with them.” That’s what sympathy is, “As bound with them.” Put yourself in their place. “And them which suffer adversity.”
Even if somebody’s not in prison, just suffering any kind of adversity, just going through any kind of a bad time or hard trials, he says, “Them which suffer adversity as being yourselves also in the body.” He’s saying, I mean, to the point where you literally feel what they’re feeling. That is the empathy that you would have with them. He says, “Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them, and them which suffered adversity as being yourself also in the body.” You don’t have to turn there but in Colossians 4:18, the apostle Paul when he’s signing off on the letter to the Colossians, he says, “The salutation by the hand of me Paul, remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.”
He said, “Just remember the fact that I’m in prison right now. Don’t forget about me. Sympathize with me. Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them.” Not only should we sympathize with people that are at a lower level spiritually, they’re babes in Christ or they’re just not as far along the path spiritually as we are. Not only should be sympathize with those who are suffering and going through adversity, but we should also sympathize with the poor. Turn to Proverbs chapter 19. There are a lot of things that people are going through that you might not even know about.
They might be having marriage problems, they might be having financial problems, they could be having health problems that they don’t want to talk about. When it comes to compassion and sympathy in the Bible, one of the words that comes up a lot is grace or mercy. You go and turn to Proverbs but in the original scripture that we looked at in Hebrews chapter four, when he said that Jesus is not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, he follows that up by saying, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne the grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
How does this play? If we sympathize with people, we’re going to give them grace, we’re going to give them mercy because we understand, “Hey, I know what you’re going through. I feel what you feel. Therefore, I’m going to extend grace unto you. I’m going to extend mercy unto you.” Meaning, I’m going to maybe overlook some things that you’ve done wrong because of the fact that you’re going through a bad time. Sympathy for the poor, look at Proverbs 19 verse 17, “He that hath pity upon the poor landeth unto the Lord and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”
Look at chapter 28 verse 8. It says, “He that by usury,” usury is the charging of interest. This is banking. “He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather for him that will pity the poor.” What does it mean ‘to pity the poor’? To feel sorry for those who are poor; that’s what the Bible’s saying with pity. Go to 1 John chapter three and while you’re turning to 1 John chapter three, I’ll tree for you from Galatians 2 verse 10. “Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.” Now, here’s the thing about poor people is that some people have never had any financial problems in their life.
There are people out there. I’m not going to ask for a raise of head. Who’s never had financial problems? I’m not going to ask for a raise. I’ll never. You know what I’ve noticed though, I’ve been around people who’ve never gone through financial problems and often they do not have any sympathy for those who do. They look at people that are poor or people that are struggling financially and they just think they’re an idiot, that’s why they’re struggling financially. There are people that think that but I’m telling you something. There are people that are poor and there are people who are struggling financially who are not an idiot and they’re not lazy but they’re actually just going through a bad time, they’re down on their luck, there are different reasons why people are poor.
I can honestly, I’ve been poor. I’ve never been really super poor. I’ve never been to the point where I couldn’t pay my bills or anything but you know, when my wife and I first got married, we lived a very modest life and I made a very low amount of money. I only made a few bucks above minimum wage. My wife and I, we lived in a small apartment in a not great area and our bed was just a twin mattress on the floor. Okay? We had two plates, two glasses, two forks, two spoons. Finally, after several months, somebody gave us a table and two chairs. Then we wanted to invite our friends from Church over and we said, “Bring two chairs because we only have two.”
For the first few months, we sat on the floor and ate, literally. We didn’t have a table. We didn’t have a couch. We didn’t have any furniture for a couple of months. We would never go out to eat unless my parents took us out to eat and then they were buying. That was the only way that we would go out to eat in the early days. You know, we were just happy because we were just excited to be married. We loved each other. We didn’t need all the frails. You know, I know a little bit what it’s like to have a lot at the end of the money instead of money leftover at the end of the month. I know what it’s like to struggle and not sure if you can pay bills and try to move things around and rob Peter to pay Paul. I know a little what that’s like.
You know what, even if I haven’t been completely poor [inaudible 00:15:46], I try to have sympathy for those who are poor. Sympathy for those who are struggling financially and trying to understand where they’re coming from. I think that in some ways, it’s good to go through hard times financially yourself. I’ve gone through times where I got in to credit card debt in there and had to pay it off and everything. I wasn’t the paying the net. It’s almost good to go through that because you don’t get this arrogant prideful attitude of anybody who has any financial problems is an idiot or they’re not a handworker. It’s not true.
The Bible tells us that we should care about the poor and remember the poor and pity the poor and reach out to the poor. I can tell you this. When I was in my early married years, I wasn’t lazy and I wasn’t stupid but I struggled to provide for my wife. Then as children came along, I struggled to provide for them because it can hard, it can be a challenge. The Bible says in 1st John 3 verse 17, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him.” What’s that say? His bowels of compassion, right? Isn’t that like sympathy? “How dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but indeed and in truth.”
A lot of people who’ve never gone through financial problems, they can’t relate, they can’t understand what it’s like to struggle financially but other areas of life as well. For example, marriage problems, somebody who’s never had any problem in their marriage, their marriage has just been smooth sailing. Oh yeah, people like that don’t exist. No, I’m just kidding. I mean it’s probably pretty rare if they do. Honestly, people who haven’t had marriage problems, they just think like, “Oh, you’re having marriage problems, you must be an idiot.” Or like, “What are you talking about you have marriage problems? You just ‘husbands love your wives.’ That easy. You know, wives reverence your husband. Submit to your husband, love your wife. It’s that easy. You just do it. It just works.” It’s like, “No. Sorry. That’s not how it works.” “I mean if you just loved your wife, right? It would be perfect.” “No, wrong.”
There’s a lot that goes into it. There’s a lot. It’s hard. If they weren’t hard, then you wouldn’t see all the divorce that you see. Some people, they don’t sympathize with that because they’ve never gone through it. You know, it reminds me of a story that my parents would tell about how they had my older sister, Ronny and then they had my older brother, Clint. At first, they just had a girl and a boy. They had the two kids. Both Ronny and Clint were really well-behaved little kids. They were very good and obedient and nice kids. My parents said they used to look at people whose kids were disobedient and just think, “Why don’t these people spank their kids?” These people are just totally failing at parenting. “If they would just spank their kids, their kids would be good. Look how good our kids are.” Then they say, “And then we had Steve. Then we realized you can have a bad kid without making big parenting mistakes.”
Because I was just a really wild and mischievous and disobedient little toddler. Once I got older, I straightened up. They just said, “You know, we just couldn’t believe it because these people’s kids would be just such brats.” We’re like, “What are you doing? Just spank your kids for crying out loud.” Then they realized like, “No matter how much we spank Steve, like he’s still being a brat.” They say, they turn their back on me for one second, I go to the bathroom, put toothpaste everywhere and spin the toilet paper and everything. Anyway, they couldn’t sympathize, right? They’ve never been there. They never had those kinds of problems.
Not only that, go back to Exodus chapter 23. The Bible also teaches that we should sympathize with those who are foreigners, people who are here from a foreign country. The Bible says we should have sympathy for them. Who does the Bible clearly teach that we should sympathize with? People who are babes in Christ, people who are at a lower level spiritually. Number two, we should sympathize with people who are suffering in prison and going through our thoughts. You know, a lot of people just look at people in prison and just think, “Oh, they all deserve to be there.” That’s not true. Jesus and the disciples were in prison a lot. A lot of the prophets were in prison. You know, a lot of people today are in prison that don’t belong there.
We should sympathize with people. Or okay, let’s say they break the law. Let’s say they did make a mistake. You know, you could still sympathize with them. Obviously, some people have done horrible things that have put them there. I’m not saying sympathize with those people. I’m saying, most of the people in prison, 90% of the people in prison have not committed a violent crime. Why wouldn’t you sympathize with them even if they did make a mistake, even if they did something stupid? Sympathize with those that are bound and especially those who are there completely unjustly. Not only that, we should sympathize with the poor and not just look down on them or just disdain them for being poor like they must be lazy or stupid.
Now, let me tell you something, there are people who are poor because they’re lazy and stupid. No question about that. The Bible teaches that. Read the book of Proverbs. He says over and over about how people are poor because they’re being lazy or because they’re being stupid. You know what, that’s not everybody so you shouldn’t just judge without even knowing what the situation is. Just see somebody who is poor and just automatically assume they’re failing. Now, a lot of times, they are being lazy. A lot of times, they are being foolish but we shouldn’t just assume that and we should still sympathize with the poor.
Not only that, the Bible teaches that we should have sympathy with foreigners, okay? Look at Exodus chapter 23 verse nine. It says, “And thou shall not oppress and stranger.” Just so you know, when the Bible says ‘stranger’, it means foreigner. It’s an old word for foreigner. Like Moses said, “I’m a stranger in a strange land.” He wasn’t saying, “Hey, this place is weird.” What he was saying is, “I’m a foreigner in a foreign land.” That’s what the old word ‘strange’ means. It says also, “Thou shall not oppress a stranger,” watch this, here’s the sympathy, “For you know the heart of a stranger.” You know what it’s like to be a stranger yourself.
Seeing you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Flip over to Leviticus 19. He says, “You used to be a foreigner in Egypt. You know what that’s like. Don’t turn around and treat foreigners bad when you get to the land of Israel.” This is something that needs to be preached today in the United States because there’s a lot of just propaganda and a lot of talk radio out there that is setting out to demonize foreigners. To demonize especially the illegal immigrants from Mexico and demonize them and they shouldn’t have any rights. Beat them, throw them in jail and send them home or whatever.
Honestly, we need to sympathize with these people because first of all, a lot of their suffering is not their fault because in fact that they’re in a country that has a corrupt government and a lot of the people in the government over there are on the take from the drug cartels and everything and so is a very corrupt government down there. There’s also a lot corrupt things that our government is doing that has caused a lot of the problems down in Mexico.
For example, the subsidizing of this Monsanto Roundup Ready corn up in the United States. This GMO garbage corn that we grow in the United States is subsidized by the government where the government pays them to grow corn and to sell it at a price cheaper than what it cost them to grow it. Then the Mexican farmers can’t keep up and then we export the food down to Mexico that’s cheap. By the way, it’s cheap because it’s garbage. Genetically modified junk. The Mexican farmers can’t make a living so then they had to go to the cities and try to make a living. Then they’re working in these factories where they’re getting paid some insanely low rage. Do you really blame them for crossing the imaginary line to try to make some money and do something for their family?
Again, people don’t sympathize. They just, “Oh, a bunch of Mexicans coming up.” It’s like, “Well, why are they coming up here though? Do you really care? Does it really matter?” “Well, they’re destroying our country.” “No, we’re already doing a good job with that ourselves.” You know, us, white people in America are doing a great job destroying our own culture and destroying our own country. We can’t really blame anybody else, honestly. I mean that’s case. Some people might not agree with that but honestly, I don’t really care. The Bible says that we should treat foreigners well. I’m just going to obey the Bible.
Bible says in Leviticus 19:34, “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be under you as one born among you.” Now, what does that say? They should be treated just as well as if they were born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona if they came from another … It’s not just Mexico. If they came from any country, they should be treated as one that is born among you. He says, “Thou shall love him as thy self. For ye were strangers in the land of Egypt, I’m the Lord you God.” You have to turn there where Deuteronomy says the same thing in chapter 10 verse 19. “Love ye therefore the stranger, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
I’m not saying that foreigners should come here and try to change our country to make it like their country. Because if their country is still great, then it’s like, “Why did they come here?” I think that people should come here and fit in in the sense that if I went to Germany, I would go and I would speak German. I would eat sour crap for breakfast and whatever. I’m not going sit there and go there and say, “You need to accommodate me in English everywhere I go and everything I do,” and just demand that. That’s Germany, it’s not America. If went down to Mexico, I wouldn’t just demand and expect everybody to speak English and everybody to take my American dollars. No, you have to go there and realize that, “Okay, this is the way this country is. This is the way this culture is.”
When in Rome, you do as the Romans do. I’m not saying that we should bend over backwards to the point where we just want to turn this into Mexico or something, okay? This is still the United States of America; we speak English, yadah, yadah. You know what though, we should treat foreigners well and love the stranger as our self. You know what, yeah. “Should people who live here speak English?” Yes, I believe that they should but somebody doesn’t understand that learning a foreign language is a lot harder than you think. Especially, if you come here as an adult, it’s going to be very difficult and very hard to learn the language.
You know, you have to sympathize and understand that. That’s what I’m saying. Also, while you’re Leviticus 19, look down to verse 14. You’re Leviticus, look at verse 14. It says, “Thou shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shot fear thy God, I am the Lord.” Another person that we should sympathize with, are those who are disabled. He’s talking specifically here about people that are deaf, people that are blind. He says, “Don’t curse the deaf.” You say, “Why would anyone curse the deaf?” Well, if you’ve been around a lot of deaf people, you’ll know that a lot deaf people are disliked and difficult to get along with because deaf people are very different.
A lot of people don’t understand them and don’t sympathize with them and they just will think to themselves, “Oh, wow. This deaf person is very strange.” Or, “Oh, this deaf person is very rude or they’re being a jerk.” Here’s the thing, have you ever been deaf? You know, being deaf would be pretty awful. Don’t curse the deaf. Don’t look down on the deaf or get irate with the deaf. Look, I’ve had deaf people be very rude to me or act very strange around me. It’s because they get frustrated. Because think about it, it would drive you crazy to be deaf. I mean it’s hard being deaf.
Now, being blind is something that we could probably understand a little bit because we’ve all gone out in the dark and you can’t see where you’re going and we’ve experienced that. You could even put on a blindfold and experience it. Being deaf is something that none of us have ever experience and we don’t really have a clue what it would be like. Why don’t we think about that instead of seeing deaf people and think, “Oh, that person’s weird. Oh, that person is rude.” Instead, we should love those people and say, “You know what, they’re going through something that’s very hard that I’ve never gone through.” Try to understand where they’re coming and try to love them and reach out to them. Try to get them saved and whether that’s through learning sign language or through text or subtitling or whatever you can do to reach deaf people. Because, you know what, they’re people that need to be saved. Honestly, it’s not that they’re bad people. It’s just that they’re misunderstood sometimes because of the fact that they’re living a hard life.
The Bible says that when they go to heaven, they’re going to be able to hear again. Praise the Lord for that. When it comes to the blind, I remember Jack Hiles told a story because he passed a huge church. He told a story that he would, on a weekly basis, blindfold himself for a little while and perform his normal daily tasks blindfolded just in order to sympathize with … Because they had the church at a deaf … Not deaf. Blind ministry. They had a blind ministry. He wanted to love and sympathize with the blind people in his church so he would blindfold himself and try to go by his business and it made him realize, “Wow, it’s really hard being blind.” It made him be able to pray for them and sympathize with them more.
Now, go to 1 Peter chapter three. You noticed how many examples the Bible has about this thing of sympathy. It’s an important subject. First of all, we saw that Christ was very sympathetic, compassionate. He was touched with the feeling of the infirmities of others. Then we see all these abolitions in the Bible telling us, “Look, have sympathy for those that are in prison. Have sympathy for those who are going through any adversity. Sympathize with the poor. Sympathize with those who are foreigners in a foreign country and struggling with the language, struggling with the culture. Have sympathy with people who are deaf and blind or any other disability.” These people are suffering and you need to try to feel what they’re feeling so that you can extend grace and mercy unto them.
Not only that, the Bible also teaches that we should be able to sympathize with our spouse. A lot of problems that people have as husband and wife in a marriage is because they don’t understand where the other person’s coming from. They’re not putting themselves in their shoes. It’s just everything is just me, me, me and it’s from their perspective instead of trying to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and understand what their wife is going through or understand what their husband is going through. Because honestly, if they understood what the other person is going through and how the other person feels, then it would be easier for them to extend mercy and grace to their spouse and not just get angry or just think, “Well, it’s impossible to please you. It’s impossible to deal with you. You’re just impossible to live with.”
No, instead try to understand where they’re coming from. Now, look at this in the Bible. 1 Peter 3 verse 7. It says, “Likewise, ye husbands dwell with them,” I’m talking about dwelling with your wives, “According to knowledge.” What does that mean ‘to dwell with your wife according to knowledge’? To know them, to understand them. He says, “Giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be ye all of one mind,” watch this, “Having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are therefore called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”
After you just finished talking about verses one through six about how the wife is supposed to obey her husband and that he is her boss and so forth. He says, “Also but the husbands need to dwell with their wife according to knowledge.” Meaning know their wife, understand their wife. It says that they should give honor unto her and that they should compassion one for another. That means that the wife should have compassion on the husband. Meaning, sympathize with the husband and try to understand what it’s like to have to pay the bills, to understand what that burden of providing for the family is like. Just to try to understand what kind of needs a man has or what kind of mentality that a man has. Look, women don’t think like men and men don’t think like women.
There’s a completely different way of thinking. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make in your marriage is to assume that your spouse thinks anything like you because they don’t. Men or women just have a completely different way of looking of things, completely different way if they … You have to sympathize. Basically, your wife could be upset about something that you think is just nothing. That’s where you need to have compassion. Sympathize and try to understand where she’s coming from. Because a husband could get upset about something could get upset about something and your wife is just like, “How would that make you upset? Why in the world?” To you, it’s a big deal because you’re a man and different things bother men and different things bother women.
As a married couple, the Bible says, “Yes, love as brother.” Yes it’s great to love each other but you also need to have compassion one of another. Sympathize with one another, know each other, be pitiful one with the other. Have pity on them and understand the struggle of being a man or understand the struggle of being a woman that’s going to be different than your struggle. Everybody in life struggles. We all have our own battles that we face and our own challenges and struggles. The struggles of being a wife are completely different than the struggles of being a husband. We have to strive to understand what a wife is going through. Women need to strive to understand what their husband is going through and extend grace and mercy because of that knowledge.
Now, flip over to Matthew chapter 7 and I’ll close with this. While you’re turning that, I’m going to give you an illustration because I learned something about this yesterday. I learned how to sympathize with my wife because I ran an ultra-marathon yesterday. This is the first time I’ve ever ran a race before and I ran a 31-mile ultra-marathon and I had to climb 7,000 feet up. It was pretty much all uphill. I was doing great. I was feeling good. Everything was going great. I was having fun but halfway through, I started to go through some dark places, but I came out of it. I was feeling good. Everything was going great. I was feeling great. I was having a great day. I’m looking at the clock and saying, “You know what, I’m for sure going to finish on time. I’m on schedule. I’m out of the woods. Everything’s going great.” I’m cruising along.
At this point, it was like a done deal, it’s in the bag. I got three miles from the finish line and all of a sudden, I just broke down crying. I have no idea why. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t crying tears of joy because I wasn’t feeling a lot of joy. I was like, “Oh, cool. I’m going to finish this. Great.” I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t angry. There was zero logical reason for me to just, three miles from the finish line in this ultra-marathon where just the sun beating down, it was a really hot day which made it hard and I just broke down crying. I have no idea why. The whole last three miles, I was just fighting back the tears for no reason. It’s funny because I ran with and passed and they passed a lot of people who were going through a lot of pain throughout this day, this ordeal. I heard a lot of expletives and I saw a lot of suffering written on people’s faces because it’s hard.
In the last two or three miles, everybody’s smiling because it’s over. Especially in the last two miles, they’re all downhill and the whole rest of the race is up. Everybody is like, “We made it.” Everybody’s just smiling and happy and thrilled and I just have no idea why. I can tell you why. It’s because of the fact that when your body under that kind of pressure and exertion, it releases the stress hormones. Basically, it was just the physical. It wasn’t anything that was going on in my mind because I was not happy, I wasn’t sad. It was just a chemical reaction of the stress hormones of just putting that kind of stress on my body that just made me burst out crying for no reason.
You say, “What does that have to do to me?” This is why your wife just burst out crying for no reason because of hormones. I understood what it was like to be a hormonal person for just a few minutes in this race. I understood what it was like to be this hormonal, this no reason. It sounds like I’m joking but I’m honestly dead serious right now. Because women have these hormones going on that men don’t have. Especially when they’re having children and they go through this cycle, they’re giving birth and they’re post-partum. There’s all these issues with being post-partum and there’s issues with being pregnant and there’s just issues on a monthly basis and then there’s just issues when it’s seasoned to be with them after the man or women as the Bible calls it.
It’s all these hormones. Here’s the thing, I can remember a bunch of times where my wife’s crying and I’m just like, “Why are you crying?” “I don’t know.” You’re just like, “What is the deal?” Or even just not just crying, just sadness, anger. It’s just like, “Where is this coming from?” You’re like, “I’m a man. Talk to me logically. I want to know the logic. Why are you crying?” Here’s the thing, you have to understand sometimes, that’s how women are. If you understand that, if you dwell with them according to knowledge and understand women sometimes just break down crying for no reason and you can’t freak out about it and try to figure out why it’s happening because there is no reason. There’s no logic.
Instead, if you would sympathize, you just understand, “Oh, her hormones are doing something weird. Too much stress or whatever.” Then, you could be nice and extend grace and mercy instead of just jumping down her throat and, “I can’t believe it. I do everything right as a husband, all you can do is break down crying and whatever.” She can’t help it. It’s just life. Anyway, here’s a good closing verse; Matthew 7 verse 12. This is one of the most famous verses in the Bible. Matthew chapter 7 verse 12. “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
This is commonly known as the golden rule. Sometimes, people would just paraphrase this as, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” He says, “All things, whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” How are you going to do that? Well, you have to be able to sympathize with people and ask yourself this question, “What would I feel? What would I do if I were in that person’s position right now? How would I feel? Honestly, that is what we ask children all the time. Where children will slap their sibling in the face or whatever they do, and you say, “How would you like it if your sibling walked up and slapped you in the face? How would you like it if your sibling took your toy without asking?” “Oh, I wouldn’t like it.” “Well, okay. Well, that’s what you’re doing.”
This is how we even as adults need to think about things. We need to be able to sympathize and put ourselves in other people’s shoes, understand where they’re going through and treat them how we would like to be treated in that situation. Whether that’s a foreigner, putting ourselves in the position of [inaudible 00:40:37] in a foreign country where I’m struggling to get by. What if I were having these hormonal upheavals? What if I were a deaf person? What kind of struggles would I be going through? What would I want people to do to reach out to help me? What if I were blind? What if I were in prison? What if I were experiencing the loss of a loved one or had a child that died or had a spouse that committed adultery or whatever the case may be.
Jesus Christ, the God of the universe, if He can come unto our level and figure out what we’re going through when he is the most exalted supreme being in the universe, can we as mortal men just take a tiny little step down maybe and condescend to men of low estate and maybe just understand where people are coming from that are not as spiritually mature as we are or don’t have the money that we have or don’t have the spiritual strength that we have, we need to sympathize with other people. If you’re not, then you’re not Christ-like. This is one of the main things about the life of Jesus Christ, total compassion, putting himself in other people’s shoes. He took upon himself the form of a servant and lived amongst men. That’s why when you pray to Jesus and you tell him what you’re going through, he’s not just thinking to myself, “Oh, that’s such a stupid petty thing to weigh. Are you really that upset about that?” No, because he’s been here. He knows what it’s like to be despised, to be rejected, to be a man of sorrows, to be hungry, to be thirsty, to have problems with his siblings and problems with this parents. He’s been through everything.
We need to have the same mind one toward another as Romans 15 said. Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ and we thank you that we have that high priest that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, Lord. Help us to take advantage of that and to come boldly to your throne of grace and to pray to you and find grace to help in time of need. Lord, help us to extend mercy and grace unto our fellow Christians and unto our fellow men and to just understand where people are coming from and sympathize with them and have compassion on them as you’ve given us in so many scriptures. Lord, help us in our marriage too to try to understand things from the other person’s perspective even though we’re very different Lord. Help us to try that as much as we can, understand where they’re coming from. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.