A good Doctor warned me that I was at risk of coming down with a horrible case of callosity. It sounded so awful I ran to look up its symptoms and outcome. Just as I feared, the good Doctor was right. I was at risk. You could be at risk too.
I discovered that callosity is the condition of being hardened, calloused, unfeeling. After listening to the news, reading article after article exposing our inhumanity towards one another, including family, friends and strangers, the stories can overwhelm my heart and crush sensitivity, so much so, that the heart risks losing awareness of its own hardness. With so much hurt in the world, it becomes tempting to withdraw into a shell for the sake of self-preservation, for the ability simply to fall asleep without succumbing to night-terrors. The better response seems to be to shut out all such news or to armor, medicate and distract oneself because active caring and actual engagement for the sake of others can bring such suffering too close for comfort and comprehension.
Somewhere in the background of this world’s existence there must lie a terrible rift that cracks at the very foundation of our life together; a brokenness so deep creation itself groans and weeps in dismay; unless it too has succumbed to callosity.
And the cure? Wool over the eyes or a shield around the heart is no lasting cure. Human effort and energy can seek to address the symptoms of callosity by attempts to alleviate pain and suffering, lessen loss and sorrow, or end vengeance and strife. But the necessary medicines for human suffering cannot be laid as bandages upon the outside of the heart. Such attempts at reform begin at the wrong place, putting cart before horse. The cure, at its root, comes first from a heart changed from the inside, and from the gift of new eyes that refuse to see suffering, hopelessness and despair as the final outcome. Hope that constant, compassion that is continuous ultimately become the only lasting antidote for callosity. What is needed and promised is a Christ-like, Christ-given love and commitment to serve all in need. A key verse that has shaped my ministry throughout comes from a letter to the young Christians of Thessalonica (2:8). So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us. At last, the best medicine of all for what ails us!
Pastor Kim Latterell
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