The Saviour by William Arkle
http://www.billarkle.co.uk/greatgift/pictureseq/fset034.htmlWe see the beautiful head of compassionate love, which is neither young nor old, looking down with sorrow and affection upon the smoke and grime of a big city and endeavouring to enfold it all within him and gather it up, like a hen gathers up her chickens beneath her wing. Although we would often save people from a miserable and wretched environment, we discover it is not easy, neither do they always want to be saved from it anyway. In a deeper way we know we must exercise great patience in our compassion without losing the heart of its attitudes; for the object of our compassion is often a most delicate teaching situation which our Creator is using in the classroom of His university. The ones we feel compassion for may never be able to gather the content of that painful situation any other way.
**Note: People often do not want to be saved-from that which they need to be saved-from - and people can only be saved with their own consent, when they are willing.
It seems that, ultimately, evil does always lead to suffering - self-inflicted suffering.
Those who do not want to be saved, who fight being saved; who reject the Gift of the Saviour... they will typically suffer. In a sense they should suffer, because suffering is their only hope.
We, as individual people, should not make them suffer - they do that for themselves - but we should not unthinkingly or always strive actively to alleviate self-imposed suffering - that may well be to harm the other person: harm them soon and forever.
Alleviation of suffering is not an imperative - and we should never allow ourselves to be persuaded that it is. There are worse things than suffering and indeed suffering is, in practice, often a necessity for Good. More to the point, every parent knows that short-term alleviation of all suffering in all circumstances leads to terrible outcomes.
We should always aim to love, pray and allow ourselves empathically to experience compassion for those whose sufferings are self-inflicted and who resist being saved. Yet we must also recognise that we are in this mortal life to learn; yet learning is very difficult, often prolonged, often requiring repetition, often resisted and rejected; and we know that for some people to learn requires suffering.
We must exercise great patience in our compassion without losing the heart of its attitudes.