When the faces of hungry children live half a planet away, it is easy to forget them. When our schedules are tight and we are running late, it is a simple matter to look the other way when we see a homeless person with an outstretched hand. Rationalizations for not lending a hand to help are easy to come by when our lives are already stressed out and booked solid.
In theory, we know we should be helping those who are in need, the people who are less fortunate than ourselves. In practice, most of us struggle to carry on the mission of Christ. We are too wrapped up in our own problems and absorbed in our own lives. But let me ask a simple question: what if the person in need was you?
If you had lost your home and were huddled on the streets, just trying to stay warm and dry, would you want someone to stop and lend a hand? What would it mean to you if one of the multitudes passing by would simply stop, smile and ask if there was something they could do for you? What if they actually invited you back to their home or even put you up in a hotel for a week? How much would that mean to you in that situation? Conversely, how would you feel when no one stopped, when every pair of eyes that found yours quickly turned away? As you listened to the snide comments and observed the looks of disdain on the faces of those who walked by, would you hold fast to your belief in a God who cares for you and loves you beyond measure?
What if you were all alone in the world and had fallen sick? Think how much it would mean if a local family or church would adopt you and look after your needs. Consider how it would feel to experience love for the first time in years. Imagine the hope that would well up inside you as you watched followers of Christ nurse you to health or simply sit with you to provide some comfort in your misery. Wouldn’t you see Jesus in their eyes and be encouraged that He had not forgotten you? But what if no one came and you were left to struggle through your weakness? What if you had no way to restock your cupboards with food because you were too sick to get out of bed? What if your neighbors and the church ignored your situation and simply went on with their lives? Imagine the despair that would envelop you as you wondered where God and His people had gone.
Suppose you had made some mistakes in your life and found yourself in prison, knowing you were going to be there for a very long time. Night after night you stared at the walls, desperately seeking some sort of hope and reason to go on. If no one came to visit and tell you of the love of Christ for people just like yourself, how would you find the will to go on? Think of how your life might turn around if someone came to see you simply because they said they cared about you and thought you could use a friend? What if that person then introduced you to Jesus and provided light for the darkness in your heart? Would you not love that person and be eternally thankful to God not only for His messenger but ultimately for His message? Your life would be transformed because someone took the time to visit you.
I ask again, what if you were the one in need? If you didn’t see the love of God reflected in the lives of those who claimed to know Him, would you still believe? Would your faith be able to withstand the hypocrisy demonstrated by so many who call themselves Christians and claimed to live as Jesus lived? We are those hypocrites every time we turn a blind eye or cast an indifferent glance in the way of someone who needs the love of Jesus demonstrated to them. We are those hypocrites when we pretend to be unaware of the needs of those around the world. We are those hypocrites when we selfishly spend our resources on the whims of this life rather than investing them into the lives of those in need. I don’t want to be that person; I want to live my life in such a way that I never walk by someone who I can help. I want to demonstrate the love of Christ to every soul I encounter. We are only a circumstance away from having our role reversed with the one who is desperate for help. Let us live as Jesus would and demonstrate His love at all times. Let us live as true followers of Christ.
Question: How can you take action today to demonstrate the love of Jesus to someone you have overlooked in the past? You can leave a comment below.