Combat Suffering with Love

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April 17, 2013 by Alex Johannigman

This past week has been full of lots of exposure to people who are suffering from loss. Obviously the explosions in Boston on Monday are on a lot of peoples’ minds this week. Also on my mind are how many of my friends have lost people close to them in the past week, including a friend’s grandmother and another friend’s teammate who was a victim of violence. I’ve also been praying for a girl who a lot of my friends know but I haven’t met who was put on life support for a very severe case of pneumonia last week.

I always have a hard time knowing what to say or do in these situations, which is why this will probably end up being a really short post. It’s really easy to try to find someone to blame, as so many seem to have done with the Boston Marathon bombing. But sometimes there is no one to blame (death due to sickness or natural disasters), and no matter who is blamed or who receives punishment for crimes, it doesn’t stop the suffering. We’re still left desperately wishing we still had what we had before.

When it comes down to it, a lot of suffering comes from a lack of love. It could be caused by a lack of love on the part of the perpetrator, as we see in terrorist attacks, murder, rape, and other horrible crimes. And it could also be because we’ve lost something that we love, like a close friend of family member.

Light drives out


The best weapon we have to fight suffering is love. Love both for those who have lost, and also for those who have caused the loss in the first place. I see articles like this and am reminded of how much good there is in the world. Prayer is also a great way to love and support those who are suffering.

And love shouldn’t just be reactionary either. We need to be proactively loving others too. Don’t forget that whoever was behind the bombing was probably suffering as well. So many crimes are committed by people who feel unloved and isolated. I usually look back at things like this and think “if only…” but I rarely think about how I can be making others feel included and loved right now. Who are the suffering in our midst right now? Who may be feeling lonely? Who may feel like there is no one who loves them? And how can we change that?

So let us not combat evil and suffering with indifference and more evil. Let’s fight it with compassion, sacrifice, and love.



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