Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Billy Graham on Compassion, Suffering & Happiness

"Abraham Lincoln once said, characteristically, 'I am sorry for the man who can't feel the whip when it is laid on the other man's back.'

Much of the world is callous and indifferent toward mankind's poverty and distress. This is due largely to the fact that for many people there has never been a rebirth. The love of God has never been shed abroad in their hearts.

Many people speak of the social gospel as though it were separate and apart from the redemptive gospel. The truth is: There is only one gospel. Divine love, like a reflected sunbeam, shines down before it radiates out. Unless our hearts are conditioned by the Holy Spirit to receive and reflect the warmth of God's compassion, we cannot love our fellow-men as we ought.

Jesus wept tears of compassion at the graveside of a friend. He mourned over Jerusalem because as a city it had lost its appreciation of the things of the spirit. His great heart was sensitive to the needs of others.

To emphasize the importance of people's love for each other, He revised an old commandment to make it read: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart... and thy neighbor as thyself' (Luke 10:27).

St. Francis of Assisi had discovered the secret of happiness when he prayed:

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
     For it is in giving that we receive;
     It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
     It is in dying that we are born to eternal life!

~Billy Graham, The Secret of Happiness (BGEA, 2002), 35.

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