Commentary on the Gospel of
The Other Side
“Jesus then crossed to the other side of the lake.” It is on this “other side” he meets with Jairus, raises his daughter, and heals the bleeding woman. George Valliant, a psychiatrist, writes in his book Spiritual Evolution: “All forms of spiritual healing have in common empathy, healing within a circle of caring persons, permission to feel and express emotion, shared responsibility for pain, and reverence for life rather than for self.” Only empathy can cross over to “the other side” and connect with those who live there. By empathy, we extend our circle of self to include the other as integral part of our own being. Without empathy, we separate, exclude, dehumanize, and demonize those on the other side. This is also why when his military, schooled in the art of othering, rejoiced at the elimination of Absalom, David grieved, seeing Absalom as an extension of himself.