Was Jesus an introvert? I like to think so. Of course, I like to think that He was a Libertarian who would have enjoyed Star Trek, too, so my opinion is a little biased.
Something that stands out when reading the Gospels is the way Jesus really cared about people. That might sound obvious, but it’s neat to read about him having compassion for people, or being moved to tears by their plight, because in movies He’s portrayed as a vulcan-esque figure (speaking of Star Trek) with no emotions and no passion. The Bible tells a better story.
While traveling with his disciples, Jesus got word that his friend, Lazarus, was dying, and that He should come soon to heal him. The letter is from Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, who had seen Jesus heal others. To the bewilderment of His followers, Jesus waited a few days before going, saying He was on his way to “wake” Lazarus from his sleep.
When Jesus showed up, Mary and Martha were upset since Lazarus had passed away. The strange thing is that Jesus didn’t say, “Calm down, I’m about to raise him from the dead. It’s cool.” Instead, he cried. Jesus wept along with them in their misery – even though He was about to resurrect Lazarus.
This behavior seemed odd, until I remembered this:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. –Romans 12:14-16
This is tough, for me, because I’m not naturally emotive. When someone’s having a bad day I realize how rough it must be, and my mind starts thinking about the situation and the possible outcomes…meanwhile I forget to interact with them because so I’m busy thinking about their issue. Telling me about your problems is like talking to a statue.
How do I learn to do this better? It turned out to be easier than I thought. By simply telling people that I was concerned (or, just saying anything) I found that I could make people feel less alone. (Like when Data pats people on the back and says, “There, there.”) The importance of Jesus’ weeping became more clear to me each time I found a way to express my concern.
This sounds silly to some of you. I have friends who are ready to tear up a box of tissues at the start of someone’s sad story, but it’s not something that all of us do naturally. I’m learning. Until I’m good at it, accept my slight smile, or beard stroking, as evidence that I care.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)