Reaching Out in Love and Service

“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” 1 Corinthians 12:26 (ESV)

Stepping into the poorer side of Calcutta was like stepping into another world. A world that I had seen everyday on my many visits to India, but never really knew at all. It’s a brutal world where every manner of vice and suffering imaginable thrives. Yet for every horror story that comes out of this world, there are stories of selfless service and valor. While I was in this world, I came across accounts of street children being generous with what little resources they had in order to help another in his time of desperate need. I even heard of one story where a group of street children prevented two corrupt police officers from assaulting a girl by throwing stones at them. In the midst of the madness that is their reality, these street children look out for each other and protect each other from harm.

Christ foreknew that the weight and bondage of sin would be something that we could not bear. Motivated by His divine love, He initiated His redemptive plan for the world; the climax of which was His willful sacrifice of Himself on the cross for humanity’s transgressions. As children of God wanting to follow the example of Christ, we cannot afford to be silent and inactive in the face of human suffering. When our hearts are aligned with the heart of God, what breaks His heart will break ours too. Instead of slandering others or always trying to prove ourselves superior to them, which was part of our old wicked nature, we should instead seek to serve others and be generous with what we have. The key to achieving a perfect world is that man should be in constant communion and fellowship with Christ, allowing Him to help us live in harmony and peace with others. This was how it was before the entrance of sin. Thus, only through His enabling will we be able to serve and love as He did, impartially and with the needs of the other in mind.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

A True Friend

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” –Proverbs 27:5-6 (ESV)

How often do we see friends who are on the path to destruction, but never speak a word to them about it? We fear that if we confront them about the way their life is going, they will hate us and we would have lost years worth of friendship. That’s why we are sometimes so hesitant to positively intervene in a friend’s situation when we know that there is a potential for hurt on both sides. Fearing that we would rock the boat too much, we keep quiet and watch from the sidelines thinking it would be the best course of action.

But is that true friendship? Inaction, as an option when deciding what to do about a friend’s situation, is just as bad as actively seeking his downfall. If we are not preventing our friends from clearly destroying themselves, we are helping them in their downward spiral through our silence. It is at times like these when we who model after Christ need to speak truth and life into those who are struggling. Jesus did the same. He did not sit idly enthroned in heaven as His creation was slowly decaying. He intervened and came into the world to speak the truth about the state of humanity. Jesus never skirted around the issue that the reason why humanity is so warped is because of their sinful nature. Naturally this did not go over well with many who saw themselves as being decent human beings. But Jesus saw the truth and He saw that they were hurting even if they were not willing to admit it. He had to identify and address their problem to them so that He may provide a solution. This came in the form of His sacrifice in order to free us from our sinful state and be reconciled to God; thus giving us new life and renewed hope. Likewise we must quickly identify and address the root cause of our friend’s destructive habits and tell them that such habits are wrong. But at the same time we must not heap condemnation just as Jesus did not; instead offering solutions as He will and letting them know that He has never left their side and never will. We must also let them know that Jesus will guide them on the right path if they allow Him. Just as how Christ suffered with us and continues to do so, we too, if we call ourselves His children, must suffer with our friends and not forsake them with our silence. They may not necessarily like our efforts at first. But by continuing to show the love of Christ while speaking His truth, they will grow to see Him and in process see their lives completely transformed.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Together We Ride!

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

Ever heard of the expression, “it would be so much better without the people.”? Often we apply this expression to life as well. There are times when people can truly aggravate us. The faults of humanity, especially if we’ve been victim to those faults, are sometimes enough for us to wish that we could live life away from people altogether; content with just looking at them but never interacting with them beyond the point of absolute necessity.

Such hermit lifestyles are never truly satisfying. Eventually we being to develop a longing for human companionship and seek to have meaningful relationships with others. The reason for this is simple, man was never meant to live alone, but was created by God to live in community with one another. God Himself lives and works in community in the form of the Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit act together as one for all three existed together before time began, had a hand in the creation of the world, and work together for its redemption from sin. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that this quality of operating in community was infused in humanity when God created us. It is also clear from this fact that God places a high value on human relationships. We should never underestimate or take for granted their importance. The truth of the matter is that we need each other in this often harsh and brutal world. We all go through the same struggles, the same hardships, and, even if we are not willing to admit it, we all share the very same faults that we accuse each other of. This is why we must encourage and build each other up; so that we may grow to be better people and better servants of God. As children of God redeemed by Christ, we have an obligation to pursue and value wholesome human relationships; never doing anything to violate something that God has wonderfully given to us. Furthermore, the Christian life is meant to be lived together in community for the Church is one body interdependent on each other and if we are to be effective witness for Christ, we need to be in meaningful relationships with others so that we may show God’s love to everyone and tell them about His desire to set every human being free from the oppression of sin so that they may enter into a beautiful relationship with Him. Though life will come with many struggles and battles, know that we never fight alone. All of us fight as a team and with God on the side of His children, we will be able to overcome any obstacle.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.