What It Means to Care

“To care means first of all to empty our own cup and to allow the other to come close to us. It means to take away the many barriers which prevent us from entering into communion with the other. When we dare to care, then we discover that nothing human is foreign to us, but that all the hatred and love, cruelty and compassion, fear and joy can be found in our own hearts. When we dare to care, we have to confess that when others kill, I could have killed too. When others torture, I could have done the same. When others heal, I could have healed too. And when others give life, I could have done the same. Then we experience that we can be present to the soldier who kills, to the guard who pesters, to the young man who plays as if life has no end, and to the old man who stopped playing out of fear for death.

By the honest recognition and confession of our human sameness, we can participate in the care of God who came, not to the powerful but powerless, not to be different but the same, not to take our pain away but to share it. Through this participation we can open our hearts to each other and form a new community” (Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life).

Perhaps if we had this spirit of caring, we would not be so quick to celebrate at another’s downfall or to assign evil motives to another’s actions. We would not be so smug and self-righteous when judging those we deem our enemies.

Jesus told us to love our enemies precisely because we are no different than them in that we have the same sin nature dwelling in each of us and are just as capable of any heinous act apart from the saving grace of God.

Once again, show grace instead of judgment and love instead of hate. The caring way is always the best way to go.

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