Suffering hurts. Suffering alone hurts like hell. The sting of suffering, the real harm of it, is in its capacity to isolate us. When we are mired in some agony, we are sure that our plight has disqualified us from communing with any other person. After all, who would climb down into this mess with me? Who could be bothered to hear or know of my pitiable state? Jesus once told of a man who found himself in just that condition -- bleeding, abandoned, left for dead. And it was not the self-styled do-gooders who proved willing to help. They were too concerned with being on the right side of history. As it turned out, the one willing to help was the one without regard for reputation, the one moved by compassion, not rightness. The Good Samaritan broke the religious and cultural codes of ancient Palestine, engaging in shameful, impure deeds to meet a lonely sufferer with love. Such is the love of God. He breaks taboos, loses reputation, and enters shame to meet us in our pain. He takes us by the hand and speaks good news: "You are not alone. Therefore suffer, hurt, join others in their place of shame. And you will not be burned."