Have you noticed the people of the world are lost? Because they live in the dark, they act and react like lost people. So, why do their actions surprise us?
Consider some of the societal problems we have now – abortion, a divisive government, racism, homelessness, pornography, poverty, abuse, homosexuality, sex trafficking, drug/alcohol addiction, depression, and suicide. If merely reading that list overwhelms you, put ONE face on the ONE problem that most deeply pricks your heart. Could that ONE face benefit from your prayers? Your loving kindness? Your resources? Your time? Your friendship? Could you help just ONE struggling person?
Most times, when I feel overwhelmed by a variety of situations, I do nothing. That’s not good. Seeing too much hurt all at once causes me to feel useless. I guess that’s why I’ve limited my news intake. I tend to spoon everyone’s hurt into my heart and let it sit there until it sours my attitude. Overwhelming hurt has the potential to choke our spirits, but most of us ably chew up smaller bite-size pieces when we need to. I’ve decided to stop using the overwhelmed feeling as an excuse and start doing something to make a difference!
It’s taken some time, but I’m finally learning it takes hefty doses of courage to be vulnerable enough to meaningfully connect with others. It also takes time to build a trusting relationship, and it takes accepting the love of God to give us the desire to even want to be an encouragement to others.
My grandmother spoke wisely when she said, “We always find the time to do the things we really want to do.”
Oh God, change the desires of our hearts into what You desire for us! Help us want to step into the lives of the hurting long enough to shine a light on the path that leads straight to You. Forgive us for thinking our time can be better spent on projects rather than people. Help us see what You see. Overwhelm us with Your strength.
Take a moment to imagine the change you might experience if every Christian in your life covered you in a heap of loving kindness – no matter what you’ve done.
What if they regularly reminded you of the drenching grace Jesus longs to pour over all of us – no matter what any of us have done?
Just think how you might go deeper with God if you were motivated by Christian friends who mustered the courage to share the tender details of their friendship with the Holy Spirit – no matter what they’ve done. “Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you. Do also the same for them. Matthew 7:12, CSB
Love has covered a multitude of YOUR sins; it can do the same for others.
“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8, CSB
Grace has taught YOU to live a godly life; it can do the same for others.
“For the grace of God has appeared to bring salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”Titus 2:11-12, NIV
Friendship with the Holy Spirit comforted YOU, taught YOU, and helped lead YOU out of darkness; it can do the same for others.
“[Jesus said] I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.”John 14:16-17, CSB
None of us are made to do everything, but we all have someONE who needs what we have. Let the Message’s paraphrase of Paul’s words to the Romans cause you to look around your life for that ONE face who needs some Sonshine.
“Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next.”Romans 15:1-4, The Message
I’m convinced we contain the power to create a huge dent in most of our world’s problems. We can make a huge difference by replacing all the criticism with one simple question:
I am so looking forward to what God will do next! What about you?