A CARING CHURCH CARES FOR THE HURTING

21 Jun

Psalms 142:1-7

I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord;
I make supplication with my voice to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see;
For there is no one who regards me;
There is no escape for me;
No one cares for my soul.

I cried out to You, O Lord;
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
“Give heed to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are too strong for me.
“Bring my soul out of prison,
So that I may give thanks to Your name;
The righteous will surround me,
For You will deal bountifully with me.”

This psalm is a prayer that David lifted up to God when he took shelter in a cave while hiding from King Saul.

There are many details to this story but for now, let’s just say that at one time he was like a son to Saul and now the King wanted him dead.

David felt disowned and deserted by his friends.

David was about as low as you could go and in verse 4, he expressed that very thing when he said, “No man cared for my soul?”

He had come to the point that he wondered if anyone really cared about him!

Have you ever felt that way?

Have you ever been in a situation in which things just looked completely hopeless? And you looked around to others for friendship, and then found out that they were completely indifferent and apathetic to your situation?

We are living in a generation of hurting people who want to know that someone cares truly about them.

If we are going to be a church or a Christian that pleases God we are going to have to be people who care for the hurting.

Do we see and understand the needs of others? We say that we have a love for God, for our fellow believers and for the lost: but do we really love them?

Romans 12:9 tells us that love must be without hypocrisy. It must be genuine.

There is a story of a hassidic rabbi, renowned for his faith. He was unexpectedly confronted one day by one of his devoted youthful disciples. In a burst of feeling, the young disciple exclaimed, “My master, I love you!” The ancient teacher looked up from his books as asked his fervent disciple, “Do you know what hurts me, my son?” The young man was puzzled. Composing himself, he stuttered, “I don’t understand your question, Rabbi. I am trying to tell you how much you mean to me, and you confuse me with irrelevant questions”. “My question is neither confusing nor irrelevant,” retorted the rabbi. “For if you do not know what hurts me, how can you truly love me?”
Do we see those who are hurting physically?

Are we aware of those around us who are in constant physical pain?

People who have debilitating illnesses or conditions such as cancer, heart problems, or diabetes?

Are we aware of those who because of physical limitations cannot do the things that you and I can?

Consider the condition of the paraplegic man that Christ encountered at the pool of Bethesda in John 5.

“The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” (John 5:7)
Are we aware of those who are alienated from the mainstream of society having diseases that  are considered socially and morally unacceptable?
Do we see those who are hurting mentally?

Statistics state that one in four Americans face some form of psychological or mental challenge.

Are we aware of their needs?

Are we aware of those who have mental/ physical addictions?

Drug and alcohol abuse is a serious problem in society and affects all–rich and poor; young-old; educated and uneducated; and the Christian and non-Christian.

There are 3.3 million problem drinkers in America’s high schools alone.

Do we see those who are hurting emotionally?

What about the hurt in the home?

Consider the condition of marriage within the context of today’s Christian homes and churches. The staggeringly high divorce rate is almost the same among believers as among unbelievers.

More children are being raised today in single parent households than those having both parents in the home.

Six out of ten couples will experience some form of violence in their marriage.

In the U.S. there is a woman battered every nine seconds. (more than 400 during this service)

There are more than one million cases of child abuse in America every year.

What about the lonely?

Mother Teresa….Loneliness and the feeling of being uncared for and unwanted are the greatest poverty.
When I was a teenager, I saw a short film called “Cipher In The Snow”

The movie went basically like this:

Asking to leave a school bus, Cliff, a young teenager, collapses and dies in the snow near the roadside. His math teacher is asked to notify the parents and then write a short obituary. This task is difficult, for although he was Cliff’s favorite teacher and had the most interaction of any at the school, he barely knew him. In unraveling the mystery of the untimely death, he finds that Cliff was shy, lonely, and ostracized, being slowly reduced to nothing, a zero (cipher).

And he died from a lack of love.

The teacher vows to not let this happen to others.

Essentially loneliness is the knowledge that one’s fellow human beings are incapable of understanding one’s condition and therefore are incapable of bringing the help most needed.
And what about those who live troubled lives?

Do we look beyond their faults and see their need? When we look at them what do we see?

When we look at the alcoholic, the person caught up in the sin of a homosexual life style, the drug addict, those with eating disorders, the convict and the ex-convict, the rebellious do we see lost souls or social castoffs.

Do we have an empathetic uneasiness about the needs of others? Does their plight disturb us?

We must never minimize the suffering of another. Billy Graham 

We need people who, as a part of their responsibility in life, will carry the burdens and wounds of other people and be outraged by them.
Hebrews 13:3 “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”
Proverbs 21:13 “Who so stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”
Luke 6:36 “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

Are we willing to show that we care by our communication?
If you truly care, you should tell those in need that you do!

It is not for us to assume that others know we love and appreciate them!

Make it a point to go out of your way to say, “I love you and I care about you!

Philippians 1:7 “Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.”

Are we willing to show others we care by our action?

James 2:15-17 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself

To feel sorry for the needy is not the mark of a Christian–to help them is.

Love talked about is easily turned down, but love demonstrated is irresistible.

I once read about an elderly Christian lady who had lived all alone. Partly crippled, she had to rely primarily on the good will and help of her neighbors. She spent some of her weary hours keeping a diary, although no one knew why; for she had precious little to record. When she passed away, it is reported that she lay dead for several days before anyone missed her! In looking through her few belongings, someone discovered her diary. Most of the book contained nothing of interest. In fact, near the end of her life, as one monotonous day followed another, she wrote only three pathetic words of page after page: No one came! NO ONE CAME!

James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

A good way to forget your troubles is to help others out of theirs.

Are we willing to show others that we care by our availability?

Romans 15:1-2 “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.”

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Titus 3:1 “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,”

It is not our responsibility to pass the buck but to step up and volunteer.

Are we willing to show others we care by our evangelism?

An old Mercedes Benz TV commercial shows their car colliding with a cement wall during a safety test. Someone then asks the company spokesman why they do not enforce their patent on the Mercedes Benz energy-absorbing car body, a design evidently copied by other companies because of its success. He replies matter-of-factly, “Because some things in life are too important not to share.”

How true.

In that category also falls the gospel of salvation, which saves people from far more than auto collisions.

2 Corinthians 4:3 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:”
Jude 23 “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

ARE WE A CARING CHURCH?

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