The Pain of Not Being Able to Love

One of the 333 Prayer Partners’ prayer requests in 2009 was to “help Pastor Chai become a man of compassion.” As this year nears its end, I’d like to share the result of their prayers.

God answered their prayer, but in an unexpected way. More than anything, He made me see how selfish and self-centered, proud and arrogant, and loveless and heartless I am.

First, God has shown me how self-centered I am in my relationships with others, especially with my wife. I feel a difference in the fervency of my prayers for Sunday worship services depending on who’s preaching that day – me or someone else. I’ve found that there are sometimes cold, selfish, calculating motives hiding behind my seemingly noble and charitable actions.

Second, God has shown me how proud I am. My pride is most obvious in matters concerning the church. I tend to assume that pastors who are not interested in the House Church are not dedicated enough to the Lord but obsessed with church growth. I tell other people that I’m not perfect, but when someone points out my imperfections I get upset, which shows that I don’t truly believe what I say, but in truth have a very high opinion of myself.

Most of all, God has shown me how uncharitable I am. I envy people who have so much empathy for people that they cry with people who are in pain and rejoice with people when good things happen to them. I used to think that it was just a difference in personality, but now I know better. The difference is that I lack love.

I’ve come to feel like I suffer from some sort of autism, which makes it hard to feel empathy with others. The small pain from a tiny splinter in my finger feels to me greater that the pains of those who are terminally ill. This lack of love, in the light of God’s infinite love, makes me ashamed, sometimes to the point of tears.

It might be that my unhappy childhood caused me to form a protective wall around my heart so that I don’t get hurt emotionally. Or it might be that I avoid feeling sympathy for others because I subconsciously believe that I’m not able to bear their emotional burdens. No matter the cause, salvation from my uncompassionate heart must come from God.

Since He has helped me see how loveless I am, He will certainly give me a truly loving heart. I will patiently wait for His salvation.

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