Compassion vs Anger

Posted: July 7, 2006 in Uncategorized

I love the story of Jesus healing the leper in Mark 1:40-45. I often wonder how long the man had this skin disease. Was it his whole life? Did he develop it later in life? Did he once have a family; a wife and children? If he did, how long had it been since he was able to embrace them? Did he once have a job? What did he do?

He obviously believed that Jesus had the ability to make him clean; to free him from his suffering. The NIV reads that Jesus was moved with compassion. According to Donahue and Harrington “Some Western manuscripts read orgistheis” which means being angered. The more difficult reading is preffered and many commentators prefer being angered. “The argument is that copyists (embarrassed at the anger of Jesus) would more likely change anger to compassion.”

Although this is a disputed text, could it be that Jesus was angry? Not angry at the leper; not angry at the request, but angry at the suffering in this world. Could it anger our Lord that we suffer so much as a result of the sin in this world? I believe Jesus is compassionate. In fact, I prefer to read this text as Jesus is moved with compassion as he stretches out his hand and says to the leper, “I am willing; be clean.” But I also can’t help but think that Jesus must be upset, even angry, at how sin and suffering is so visible in this world. Does he look at the leper and get angry at the suffering? Does he look at the homeless in our cities and get angry that they have to suffer when there are so many affluent people who can help? Does he look at poverty stricken areas like Africa and get angry that they are malnourished and dying of starvation when we ask for to go boxes and throw out leftovers? Does it anger our Lord that we choose to often ignore the suffering around us so that we can live more comfortable lives? It is far easier to turn the other way when we see the hungry, the homeless, the suffering. But………does that anger our Lord just a little to see the suffering? Compassion vs anger…it really has me thinking.

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