You Don’t Know What it’s Like to be Me!
Saturday, July 9th
Because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18
In our pain and misery we often cry out that no one understands what we go through. In an attempt to justify our behavior, we come to believe that we are worse off than everyone else. This self-piteous state is of course just a shield from facing our own defects.
The reality is, that God not only made us and knows everything about us, but He also descended to earth as a man and lived as one of us. He has walked in our shoes, faced our temptations and suffered as one of us. This has two important implications.
First, Jesus knows what we go through and is able to identify with our specific struggles. Just prior to his crucifixion, we get a glimpse of his own conflict. Jesus wrestled with his own will, to the point where his sweat became like great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Knowing the pain He was about to go through, Jesus’ flesh nature had second thoughts about following God. Remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done (Luke 22:42). In the end of course, He submitted to God’s will, but his struggle is our struggle. Do we follow self or God? In Jesus, we have someone who completely understands this conflict.
Second, in this passage lies the profound implication that those who have suffered are particularly gifted to help those currently suffering. We who have been through tough times have an ability and responsibility to help others. This of course requires that we are vulnerable enough to share our struggles. This is uncomfortable. My pride would prefer that I help those unfortunate souls who are far beneath me. It is much more perilous to expose my own failures and admit to being one of those unfortunate souls.
This transparency however, is the key to opening the door to helping others. It is in my willingness to share my own failures that others open up. Almost everyday, someone comes to me to share some hurt, not because I am tremendously gifted in fixing problems, but because I’ve been open about my own failures.
We are to share in each other’s burdens. We can lighten each other’s load and can work together to keep our eyes on Christ, who can identify with us and help us in our temptation.