“An otherwise physically fit 43 year old man explained to the church that his blood pressure was dangerously high and his physician hadn’t been able to find a medicine which was effective for him. Obviously distressed, he asked for prayer. Instead of truly acknowledging the concern, a leader publicly replied, “Almost everybody has blood pressure problems.”
“We realize that, in general, Bulgarians do not easily show their feelings. We’ve also learned that many Christians here view the expression of intense sorrow as a lack of faith. We have repeatedly asked ourselves, “Are we trying to force our own cultural expectations on others, or is the heartfelt display of concern and support an essential component of Christian living?” We have seen the seeming lack of empathy inflict pain and damage relationships in our fellowship. We are convinced that compassion must transcend culture; it is the way of Christ.
“We can’t count the number of times we have addressed this issue in sermons, Bible studies, leadership meetings and individual conversations. Please lift up the grieving family and the man with the blood pressure problem, and also pray for us to persevere with “…compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NASB)
“Perhaps the folks our age and older cannot learn a new way, but we cannot give up. We will continue to encourage the established members, while focusing our efforts on discipling younger believers. We want to challenge them to live lives which are consistent with the character of Christ. Among other things, they need to understand that David wept, Jeremiah wept, and Jesus himself wept. We too must sometimes weep, both for ourselves and for others. We hope one day to see an authentic Christian community – a fellowship of Bulgarian believers who will, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 (NASB)”