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When Brothers Weep

Sorrow by Flickr User Daniel Waters, Co. Sligo, Ireland, CC License = Attribution

Sorrow by Flickr User Daniel Waters, Co. Sligo, Ireland, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Sadness and sorrow are strong emotions that can change moments, days, weeks, and longer parts of our lives. When the sorrow is generated by a painful situation involving someone we care about, it can affect everything from appetite to moving forward in our daily routines.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 10:16 through Leviticus 10:20 (the end of the chapter), we read about the effects of sorrow on Aaron and his remaining sons after two of his sons were killed for offering strange fire on God’s holy altar. I found it just a little harder to understand from the Complete Jewish Bible, so I recommend also reading from another version as well. Here’s a link to read today’s portion from The Amplified BibleLeviticus 10:16-20.

So Moses is checking up on the rituals he has trained the new priests to perform, and he is concerned that he cannot find the meat from the sacrificial goat. The priests were supposed to eat the meat in a holy place as their portion of the sacrifice, but Moses discovers that they have burnt it up as waste instead. He asks them why they did things their own way instead of God’s way, and why the blood was not brought into the holy place as Moses commanded.

The response from Aaron is basically something along the lines of, “After what happened to the other two members of our family, we were all depressed and had no appetite.” And then he asks Moses if God would have been pleased with them if they had gone ahead and eaten in spite of what they had just been through. Upon seeing that perspective, Moses is pacified and understands the sorrow of the men.

I understand the pain of these brothers and father too. When I see a perspective that shows me the sorrow of others, I have to fight feeling sorrow myself–even for something as far back as a story in the Old Testament. I cry so easily that I wept when I thought of my kitties going under anesthesia for being fixed and not having anyone there who could explain in kitty cat language what was happening to them. Today, when I heard the family members weeping for their relatives who were passengers on the lost Malaysian Airlines jet, I immediately felt their pain and began to cry. I am highly sensitive to the emotions of others, and that can be both a good and bad thing at times.

While the brothers and father in our Bible story were experiencing common mourning, what I have described about myself is a bit less common. There is a great article (lens) on “Squidoo” that describes it perfectly. It’s called The Empath Within–Are You A Highly Sensitive Person, and it explains what it means to be empathic rather than just empathetic. It helped me to understand why something like a trip to Walmart can make me feel so emotionally drained, and it has to do with the sensations I feel from the huge mix of emotions there. I highly recommend the article.

So, why am I tying the sorrow of today’s story to my own empathic spirit? Because it’s a great segue to explain to my readers why the world sometimes feels like too much for you to bear. If you’re like me, when there’s a lot of pain around you, it makes it hard to complete even basic tasks. You’ll understand if you click on the article above, and you’ll even get a bit of a better understanding of me as a person.

Of course, the hardest thing of all is feeling stuff the rest of the world either doesn’t feel or won’t admit to, or maybe feeling things differently than the rest of the world thinks I should feel them. For example, while I am hurting over my nephew who is still not waking up, I feel more sadness for some of my Facebook friends who are battling cancer because I know they did not bring it onto themselves. Yes, I want Joshua to be healed, but if I had to choose only one person to receive a miracle, I would hand it to my friend, Judy Sliger, who is at the end of anything doctors can do in her battle with ovarian cancer. That brings its own kind of pain because I want to take on everything for everyone, but no one other than Our Savior was ever built for that task, so I’m left with fighting guilt.

I will ask you, my lovely readers, to continue to pray for my nephew. I ask above all else that you pray for God’s most perfect will to be done, and that you pray for God to be glorified in the situation. I would love to know that God is somewhere with him in that comatose state, and that he will wake up as a servant of God who is ready to tell the whole world about it. And I also ask you to pray for the many on my heart for the cancers and sicknesses and pains they are going through.

I will end today’s post with this: Judy is one I have known and met as we worked together to plan the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference some years back. She has written a book about her struggle with cancer. So, if you want to support her, or if you know anyone else who is fighting a terminal condition, I encourage you to consider purchasing her book. You can visit by clicking on this title… Take Heart: Prayers for the Terminally Ill. (This is a direct link to the paperback with no affiliate link embedded.) Thank you, and may your days ahead be blessed with more positive emotions than negative ones, and more and more of God’s presence as you continuously draw nearer to Him.

March 19, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Crystal, wonderful article. I too am an empath. One of the things I have learned to do is allowing God to be Lord over my emotions. Not an easy thing for me to do at times, as you well know. Another thing, is, I have downright refused to allow myself to feel “bad” or “sad” about some situations, or else I would be a basket case. An empath sees a situation at hand and immediately will do what needs to be done to alleviate suffering if they can. They go where others fear to trod. Hospitals and nursing homes are a biggie for me. For I can sense the sorrow,worry and concern on every person I run across. Even with complete strangers.Most people would say the last “gift” in me, would be that of “mercy.” Yet, they would be very surprised at what I am able to do when God is in control of my emotions. On the other hand, there are times, when I just have to shut all my emotions down for a day or so. Or longer! Empathy is a gift. It keeps us from being crazed out. I used to focus on the gift more so than the Giver. Now, that I know that it is a gift, I am trying to learn to trust in the One who gave it to me in the first place. Otherwise, my emotions would take me to where God does not want me. not to say, how it just plain wears a body out by feeling everything going on around you. Still thinking of and praying for your nephew. May God speak to his heart during this time that HE has alone with him.


    Comment by redeemedhippiesplace | March 20, 2014 | Reply

    • Brenda, I was actually thinking of you as I was reading this, and it makes perfect sense to me. I hope you get, or got, a chance to read the linked article. The understandings in it set me free from a lot of false guilt about places I didn’t want to go and people I didn’t want to be around.

      Now this comment is offering a new freedom. While I knew this was a gift from God, I have definitely been focusing more on the gift than the Giver, and I have never actively thought of making sure God was in charge of my emotions. I did ask Him once to make me less sensitive–before I read the article and while I was going through a difficult time, and He told me that if He took it away, I’d be less sensitive to the good as well. I basically said, “Thy will be done,” and got through it.

      He is so good to continue to open up my understanding of this. I hope you can meet my friend, Debbie, soon. She is also an empath, and I am the first one she ever met that she knows of, so it has created a bond for us. Thanks for sharing your ways of strength with me. I’ll be working on them and sharing them with others. 🙂


      Comment by Crystal A. Murray | March 20, 2014 | Reply

  2. Thank you, Crystal for your sweet thoughts. I did read the article and passed it on to a dear friend who was having too much sorrow (in my opinion) about the missing plane. I’ve noticed something else about being an Empath, It makes it very hard for me to be part of a group at times. Especially a faceless and voiceless one that many are part of on Face Book, etc. I tend to start feeling all kinds of things and have come to the conclusion that Satan knows we have this gift and he will do everything in his power to screw it up by causing us to feel/think things that are not true. Empaths have to be very careful in discerning or else we would be spending our emotion on every thing around us, being deceived and even possibly deceiving others, through false emotions not led of God. I began to learn these things after the death of my mother. I believe it was the grief of losing her that God began to use to teach me a few things. It is said, everyone grieves differently and that is true. It is said, that it takes longer for some than others and that is true. Yet, when the people grieved for Moses, they were given 30 days. I find that interesting, that God chose how long they were to grieve. There was a reason for it. I’m not advocating it, because I’m sure I would sound like a hard nose, and God knows how long it takes me to grieve and it is well over a month! Still, God had a reason for 30 days. Sometimes there are times that even as an Empath, we have to just allow God to pick us up and go on or else we would be stuck on an emotional roller-coaster forever. And we know that it is not emotions that should lead us to begin with. 🙂


    Comment by redeemedhippiesplace | March 22, 2014 | Reply

    • I’ve spent many days on emotional roller-coasters before learning the why (being an empath). I’ve not spent nearly as much time since, but I still struggle. I think the reason we take on so much (like your friend with the plane situation), is that all people want to fix the things that hurt in our lives. If we are feeling what others are going through as if it’s our own stuff, we want to fix that too.

      The roller coaster comes when we try to go on living, get a few highs from things we can fix, and keep working to fix some unfixable thing that keeps trying to bring us down.

      You are so right that we MUST discern, especially in learning what is ours to fix. Some things, we may be meant to feel just to bring up the compassion meter that moves for change in the world. So, we should discern if we are to just feel and move on. Just because we can’t fix it, doesn’t make us hard. It simply means we’re taking God’s wisdom to know when to end with feeling and when to step into the roll of fixer. (I’m speaking these things to myself, by the way. 🙂 )

      I know you understand, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that. Many blessings on you my friend.


      Comment by Crystal A. Murray | March 23, 2014 | Reply

  3. […] about the nephew who was in a coma due to a drug overdose. If not, you can read the post “When Brothers Weep” for more information. At that point, and based on all the tests, we prayed for a miracle but […]


    Pingback by How Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow « Crystal Writes A Blog | May 8, 2014 | Reply

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