Today the main phrase in life, even in Christian circles, seems to be: ‘Be happy and have no pain or suffering’. This is peculiar, because the core of the Christian message is about suffering. Jesus showed us at the cross that the fulfilment of life is coming to us throughout pain and suffering.

Love hurts. When I love someone deeply I lower the barriers and walls around my heart and soul. I become more open and vulnerable. This is for many a scary thought, because when you are open and vulnerable people can hurt you, disappoint you, betray your trust and laugh at you, and we know they will. The people you love the most, hurt you the most.
Compassion hurts, because we need to give up something from ourselves to help and get connected. Only when we love people so much that we can refrain from our comfortable life, that we are willing to give up our happy and pretty life and position, we start to understand something of love and compassion.

Jesus loved us so much that he refrained from his Godly position and became human. He was scorned, laughed at, humiliated and took the pain for us, out of love. By being obedient to this love to the point of death, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name. Paul brings Jesus as an example to us. He calls us not to look only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. To have the mindset and mentality of Christ Jesus, who gave his own life for us . God tells us that our calling is to become a person, a human being, to the image and likeness of Christ .
Jesus came down from heaven on earth to become someone like us and throughout Jesus we go from earth to heaven to become like Him. This is the gospel and good news. We become part of God’s glory and world. This is not about happiness, but about love.
In the face of the other we face our responsibility to love well. We have to understand that this love will take something of us. It will hurt us, we will feel pain. But this pain is nothing comparing to the beauty of love we will experience over time. By trying to avoid pain and suffering, we try to get away from the heart of the gospel.

I am so happy that I know people who do love others sincerely. Who refrain from a better life to serve their own people in their poor and corrupted nations. I am so happy that I know people who refrain from profit maximization and start companies in areas that are less profitable in financial terms, but more profitable in increasing social, human and natural capital. I am so happy that many businesses are there to serve, to solve problems, to fulfil the needs of the people and society and that they are not only there for the owners good. Love is a strong and powerful driver. What is yours?

Wouter