A rabbi stops in at a tavern after a long day. While enjoying his drink, he overhears two old
Jewish friends talking.
"I love you, my friend."
"Ah, but I love you MORE," replied the other.
"Then tell me what it is that's breaking my heart," said the first
"Am I a mind-reader?" rejoined his startled friend. "I'm sure I cannot!"
"How can you say you 'love' me if you don't know what hurts me?"
My son-in--law, B.J., heard this story in Jewish literature class at Moody B.I.
I'd like to draw three applications.
First, we ought to apply it on an individual relationship level. We're surrounded by hurting people, but we are often too caught up in our own pursuit of happiness to tune in to them enough to know what it is that's hurting them. Meanwhile, people we spend time with every day may be aching for us to hear their cry for help. My son Abel's example has challenged me to be a better listener, and not simply be focused on myself and the next thing I'M fairly bursting to say (Philippians 2:1-4).
There is great application to the relationship of the Church to the nation of Israel. Many Christians claim to love Israel because the Bible tells us they are God's "chosen," but they have no awareness (and maybe don't want to know) of the many ways Jews have been injured throughout history by those claiming to be followers of Christ.
I think it fits well, too, with what I'm learning in my study of Deaf history and culture.
Currently reading a fascinating book called "The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community," by Harlan Lane. He talks at length about "audism;" the tendency for hearing people to look down on the deaf as inferior. And the various ways an oralist establishment has continually kept them down, even while convinced they are benevolently giving a leg up to a "disabled community."
At the heart of the problem is a stubborn refusal to let the Deaf speak for themselves and to accord proper value to their input regarding their own education and medical care.
They have not been listened to; we, the hearing, while believing we "love" them, have turned a deaf ear to their pain.