I am someone who really wants things to be fair. Rules appeal to me and it bugs me when people are allowed to break the rules. I probably would have been a top-notch Pharisee--well, other than the little issue of my gender.
The problem comes when people break the rules. I tend to see whatever suffering they experience as a result being ... well, their own fault. I have trouble offering sympathy to, say, a neighbor who had several hundred dollars worth of stereo equipment stolen from an unlocked car. It's so much easier to offer a shoulder to cry on when something happens that no one could have prevented. If you take all the precautions, do everything you're supposed to do, yet still get the short end of the stick, I find it a lot easier to weep with you.
Seems to me, I'm not the only one who struggles with this. In fact, our society must encourage this sort of behavior. Why else would we be so averse to taking responsibility for our own failures? Why else would the largest section of the yellow pages be filled with attorneys? Someone must be to blame, and it sure shouldn't be me. Let me sue the other guy. He did this to me. Except ... that's not what I'm called to do.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 4:32-5:2, NIV
Somehow, that seems a much harder proposition. It would be a whole lot easier to just refer to the rule book and see what's what. But God expects me to love people and forgive them--even when they don't deserve it. Just 'cause He did that for me.
Anybody know a good circuit training routine for love, compassion, and forgiveness?