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SPLAGCHNIZOMAI

Hierdie is ʼn woord uit die Nuwe-Testamentiese Grieks waar dit slegs enkele kere voorkom. Sommige navorsers is van mening dat van al die woorde in die Bybel wat betrekking het op barmhartigheid en ontferming en omgee, gee hierdie woord die sterkste uitdrukking daaraan – dat dit inderdaad een van die sterkste terme in die oorspronklike taal is om uitdrukking te gee aan emosies. Een kommentator beskryf dit as die mees diepgaande verwoording van gevoelens in die Bybel. Die betekenis van hierdie woord impliseer onder andere die volgende: “My bowels are turned upside down – to have pity or compassion or mercy or great affection for somebody.” Wanneer iemand anders se nood hierdie persoon aangryp dan word hy/sy geraak tot in hul ‘splagchna’, hul mees vitale dele, naamlik die hart, die niere en die ingewande.

By die volgende drie gelykenisse word hierdie woord onder andere gebruik:

  • Mat 18:27 – Die koning wat die man jammer gekry het wat so baie skuld gehad het en hom toe alles kwytgeskeld het.
  • Lukas 15:20 – Die Verlore Seun se pa, wat toe die seun nog ver aangekom het, het sy pa hom al gesien en hom innig jammer gekry…
  • Luk 10:33 – Die Barmhartige Samaritaan wat die man langs die pad wat deur rowers aangeval was innig jammer gekry het…

En dan is daar die mees aangrypende gebruik van hierdie woord, splagchnizomai, wanneer dit op Jesus Christus self toegepas word in Matteus 9:36: “Toe Hy die menigtes sien, het Hy hulle innig jammer gekry, want hulle was moeg en hulpeloos soos skape wat nie ‘n wagter het nie.” Enkele ander vertalings beskryf dit as volg:

  • Message: “When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd.”
  • Good News: “As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
  • Modern King James: “But seeing the crowds, He was moved with compassion on them, because they were tired and scattered like sheep…”

Die Ou-Testamentiese ekwivalent is die Hebreeuse woord ‘rachmim’ soos wat dit byvoorbeeld in Jeremia 31:20 gebruik word waar God sê dat Hy innerlik ontsteld is oor die toestand van sy volk. “I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD (KJV).

Die Hollandse Staten Vertaling stel dit as volg: “Doorom rommelt mijn ingewand over hem.”

In Hosea 11:8 is daar ʼn soortgelyke gedagte waar God worstel met Homself oor Sy volk wat hul rug op Hom gekeer het. Enersyds is die gedagte daar dat Hy hulle moontlik moet prysgee, maar andersyds is dit dan asof sy binneste omgekeer word omdat Hy nie kans sien om hulle prys te gee nie:

  • “How can I leave you to be ruined like Admah, devastated like luckless Zeboim? I can’t bear to even think such thoughts. My insides churn in protest.” (my ingewande raak aan die skud) (Message Vert).
  • “…  mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together” (KJV)

Medelye/empatie (compassion)

Die konsep van medelye/empatie/compassion help verder om die betekenis van bovermelde terme uit die Grieks en Hebreeus beter te verstaan. Die Engelse woord, compassion, beteken letterlik om ‘saam te ly’ – dit kom vanaf die Latyn com (met) en pati (ly). Om goed te kan luister, moet ek in staat wees om opreg lief te kan hê, en om opreg lief te kan hê, moet ek ‘n opregte empatie met andere kan betoon (in staat wees om as’t ware saam met hulle ‘te kan ly’). Ek moet kan voel wat die ander persoon voel en kan deel in hul hartseer. Om dit reg te kry, moet ek in ‘n verhouding kan tree met die ander persoon as ‘n spesifieke individu, ‘n unieke persoon en nie bloot nog ‘n ‘geval’ of ‘n ‘tipe’ wat geklassifiseer moet word nie

Wanneer ons bereid is om eerlik en met oorgawe te luister na iemand anders se pyn en met hulle trauma en verwonding kan identifiseer, dan moet iets van hierdie diepste emosies soos vervat in die betekenis van die woord splagchnizomai, (en ook die ander voorbeelde hier bo) aanwesig wees. Wanneer ek geraak word in my diepste menswees soos Jesus toe Hy na daardie hulpelose skare gekyk het, of soos God in Hosea 11 waar Hy sê dat Sy binneste omgekeer is, dan kan die strome van God se lewende water inderdaad deur my vloei en kan ek ʼn instrument van heling in Sy hand word. Die teoloog, Dr Gerben Heitink, som dit alles treffend as volg op:

“Zo komt er vanuit het woord ontferming (splagchnizomai) een beweging op gang, een stroom van gevoelens in een direkte ontmoeting met mensen. In deze beweging voltrekt zich het evangelie.”

SPLAGCHNIZOMAI (English)

This is a word from the New Testament Greek where it occurs only a few times. Some researchers believe that of all the words in the Bible that relate to mercy, compassion and caring, this word gives the strongest expression to it – this is indeed one of the strongest terms in the original language to express emotions. One commentator describes it as the most profound articulation of feelings in the Bible. The meaning of this word implies, among other things, the following: “My bowels are turned upside down – to have pity or compassion or mercy or great affection for somebody.” When someone else’s need grips this person, he/she is affected down to their ‘splagchna’, their most vital parts, namely the heart, the kidneys and the intestines.

Apart from other passages this word, is used in the following three parables:

  • Matthew 18:27 – The king who had pity on the man who had so much debt and then forgave him everything.
  • Luke 15:20 – The father of the prodigal son, who, when the boy was still far away, had already seen him and felt deeply sorry for him …
  • Luke 10:33 – The Good Samaritan who felt deeply sorry for the man along the road who was attacked by robbers.

And then there is the most poignant use of this word, splagchnizomai, when applied to Jesus Christ himself in Matthew 9:36: “When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (CEV)

Some other translations are the following:

  • Message: “When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd.”
  • Good News: “As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
  • Modern King James: “But seeing the crowds, He was moved with compassion on them, because they were tired and scattered like sheep”

The Old Testament equivalent for splagchnizomai is the Hebrew word, ‘rachmim’, as it is used, for example, in Jeremiah 31:20 where God says that He is emotionally upset about the condition of His people. “I do earnestly remember him still: therefore, my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD” (KJV).

The Dutch Staten Vertaling translates it as follows: “Doorom rommelt mijn ingewand over hem” (My gut rumbles over him).

In Hosea 11: 8 there is a similar thought where God wrestles with Himself over His people who have turned their backs on Him. On the one hand, there is the thought that He may have to give them up, but on the other hand, it is as if His innermost being is turned upside down because He is not willing to really give up on them:

  • “How can I leave you to be ruined like Admah, devastated like luckless Zeboim? I can not bear to even think such thoughts. My insides churn in protest.” (my intestines are shaking) (Message Translation).
  • “… my heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together” (KJV)

Compassion

The concept of compassion/empathy further helps to broaden the meaning of the above-mentioned terms from the Greek and Hebrew. The English word, compassion, literally means to ‘suffer together’ – it comes from the Latin com (with) and pati (suffer). To be able to listen well, I must be able to love sincerely, and to be able to love sincerely, I must be able to show sincere empathy with others (in a sense be able to suffer ‘with them’). I need to be able to feel what the other person is feeling and be able to share in their sadness. I consequently need to enter into a relationship with the other person as a specific individual, a unique person, and not just another ‘case’ or ‘type’ that needs to be classified.

When we are willing to listen honestly and with devotion to someone else’s pain and identify with their trauma and injury, then some of these deepest emotions as contained in the meaning of the word splagchnizomai, (and also the other examples mentioned above) have to be present. When I am touched in my deepest humanness, like Jesus when He looked at that helpless crowd, or like God in Hosea 11 where He says that His inner being is turned upside down, then the streams of God’s living water can indeed flow through me and I can become an instrument of healing in His hand. The theologian, Dr Gerben Heitink, summarizes this important aspect strikingly as follows:

“Thus, from the word compassion (splagchnizomai) a movement begins, a stream of feelings in a direct encounter with people. In this movement the gospel is being fulfilled.”

(“Zo komt er vanuit het woord ontferming (splagchnizomai) een beweging op gang, een stroom van gevoelens in een direkte ontmoeting met mensen. In deze beweging voltrekt zich het evangelie”).

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