passion means pain

I came across some really valuable material while reading a book last night. Yes, reading is Fun Da Mental.

Christian Reflections on the Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner is an excellent read which I recommend for anyone aspiring to lead well.

In a section on leadership relationships and sacrifice, they said the following: “When you look up passion in the etymological dictionary, you see that it comes from the Greek word for pain and suffering. A passionate person is someone who suffers. A compassionate person is someone who suffers with others.”

I’ve seen the movie, The Passion of the Christ several times. I know what Passion Week (aka Holy week – next week!) represents. But I don’t think I’ve ever put together how passion in my life actually means suffering. Through the years, I have gotten pretty intense about some key issues – family, church ministry, helping orphans – and many times my passion on these issues has gotten me into trouble. As I look back, I recall many times in life when I spoke and acted with passion and the results were not good. It may not have been that the responses I received were painful, as much as the passion itself was painful. In order for me to get really in-depth passionate about something, there must be something wrong.  Someone is destroying their life and I am helpless to stop them; a child is going without food and people don’t want to help; Christ-following people are apathetic while their lost friends and family die without Christ. All of these things have resulted in my passion. And all of them have been quite painful. And up until now, I guess I was surprised by the pain. But no longer.

Thanks, Kouzes and Posner for opening my eyes. Of course passion is pain. What else could it mean? Look at how much suffering Jesus endured during Passion Week.

I just pray that I never become passionless. It may get tempting when you get tired of the hurting. But the pain of passion is better than death by apathy.

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