A while ago, some one told me a sad story about how he was in an airport for two or three days and hadn't eaten in at least a day and hadn't taken his medication because he couldn't leave his stuff to get some water (he is disabled and struggles to walk, let alone carry something). He was impassioned as he recounted his plight, detailing his suffering and then shared how God rescued him by having a stranger bring him some water so that he could take his medication. He ended by telling me no matter how much pain he had to endure, God would take care of him. And then he began to rant about how terrible this country / community is and how cruel his wife was to kick him out where he had no where to go.
One might be tempted to feel very sorry for this individual; his pain and distress was real. However, the truth is not exactly as he had described it. I happen to know his wife and her side included an intense and harsh argument between them, where by he left in a fit of rage and was almost totally silent for about three weeks and very cagey about where he was. He didn't stay in hotels, possibly for the expense, but equally possibly because he didn't wish to be found.
When you hear the entirity of this, those feelings of compassion and pity shift. Well, at least they do for me.
I believe a large percentage of the suffering many people experience is self-inflicted. It doesn't make it less painful, but it does make it less noble.
How much pain could we avoid if we learned how to listen, then apologize? Reconcile. Take the other person's perspective …
I think it was amazingly kind that God sent a compassionate individual to bring this man some water. But how cool would it have been if God hadn't had to prod someone to help – what if this man had said to his wife, "This conversation is hurting me. Can we do this differently?" or even if he had said, "I think I have hurt you … lets talk."
- There would have been a different experience for everyone.