My heart is heavy today. The Christmas season has become a difficult time of year for many people. God never intended for us to live in darkness without hope. He came as a beacon of light, to remove the shadows of darkness and provide hope in our daily existence and on into eternity. Yet for many, Christmas is a season of darkness. This week I heard of yet another suicide; the 2nd in a matter of 2 weeks. Another young person took his life and no one really knows why. What about their lives made life hopeless? 100 questions fill my head, all with no answers, only sadness at a life now ended.
I keep coming back to the question, what can one person do? In fact, I am full of questions. Are we as a society doing all we can? More importantly, as Christians, are we, am I, giving the gifts of kind words, encouragement, compassion and grace? Do I make myself available? Do I listen, really listen, when others speak? Am I too self focused and not seeing the hurts of others? Do I even care? Of course I care. Do I care enough to put their needs above my day’s agenda; to put myself out a little?
Jesus came to earth so that we might have life to the full. Life to the full does not mean wealth and riches or even good health. It does not mean a life with no problems trials or challenges. It means a life with hope, with expectancy, and assurance. We have assurance, because we know God is in charge and in control – He has a plan no matter what circumstances may say. We need to hang in there with him. Knowing God has a plan means we can look forward to the joys and the challenges found in each new day with hopeful expectancy. There is no sin, no sin, which we could commit that God would not forgive. Yet, depression and suicide are the number 1 illness/tragedies of the season. And the question remains, “Why”?
This Christmas, the news coverage regarding comments made by Duck Dynasty’s, Phil Robertson, on the subject of homosexuality has incited a flurry of comments, emails, Facebook posts, etc., most containing accusations and judgments on what God has to say on the subject. When it comes to homosexuality, many Christians are ready to condemn, ridicule, and judge. One more log to throw on the fire, one more reason for a person to feel their life is hopeless and that maybe, just maybe, there is no place for them in God’s plan. I’m not going to get into a dialogue about its rightness or wrongness here; because it doesn’t really matter what I think. God is the one who gets to say, not me. What about lying, cheating, anger, lust, pride, adultery and greed? The Bible links them right up there with the subject of homosexuality, yet we are more than willing to let these actions slide under the radar? My friends people are dying for want of compassion, understanding, love and the giving of God’s grace by us to others.
Matthew 25: 41-46 – “Then he (Jesus) will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed closed and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not for one of the least of these, you did not for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” If we as Christians, those who profess to follow and believe in Jesus, would spend more time fulfilling the commands of love, compassion, and understanding, rather than condemning and judging, our world might be a better place. Certainly if we did such, those who struggle silently, afraid to share for fear of being judged and condemned, might find hope.
I desire to be a person others can come to when faced with difficult decisions and or when living out the consequences of poor choices. I desire to exhibit compassion and love and walk side-by-side, together, sorting out the muck and mire which comes our way. I can think of nothing better than being Jesus with skin on where others may find comfort, encouragement and strength. I desire to speak truth to a willing heart dished in a nonjudgmental bowl of kindness.
We have hope in Jesus who holds all of our tomorrow’s in his hand. Jesus never gives up on us and we must never give up on Him. I/we need to be sharing that hope with others through love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” First Corinthians 13 4-7
I keep asking, “What can I do”? “What can one person do”? And the answer comes… Love… “Love those for whom I was born”.
Until next time,
“Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”…