Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Â (Philippians 2:4)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Â (Galatians 6:2)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Â (Romans 12:10-15)
The weak, oppressed, lonely, and hurting… all of these and anyone who has a need are the very ones we are to bend down and help lift up. This is Biblical and at the heart of what love and charity is all about. I’ve realized an interesting dilemma however- while those of us who claim to be strong disciples of Christ usually do very well to keep our eyes and ears open to needs that may be around us, very few of us check in on the ones we believe to be strong, free, surrounded by people, and seemingly happy.
Many may ask; “Well if someone is happy and taken care of, then they’re good! They really don’t need anything, right?”
Hmmm… when was the last time that you met someone who really had EVERYTHING in their life perfectly put together? I’m not talking about someone you thought did, but one who really was walking on sunshine 24/7 because their life was just that peachy. More than likely, you can’t name anyone- and if you can, then I’d say they were a rare bird indeed.
The problem is that these people who we claim “have it all together” struggle and have needs just like anyone else; it just may not be as obvious to the passer-by. Here is what that particular person may look like:
They usually have a smile on their face, they’re willing to help anyone ELSE who seems to have a need, their family is pretty much close-knit and happy, finances may be stable, and they might even be a leader in the church.
What could they possibly be struggling with or sad about then?! ~ Let’s be a little self-analytical, shall we?
- Have you ever been sad or depressed, even when- on the outside- there doesn’t seem to be anything seriously wrong?
- Have you ever been overwhelmed, stressed, or just too busy for you to hold it all emotionally together?
- Have you ever experienced hardships or personal struggles that you really didn’t share with your friends, co-workers, or church-acquaintances simply because it was easier to deal with it alone (or at least with your own family)?
The answer to all of these should be a resounding- YES, OF COURSE! You know why? Because we’re human! Emotions don’t usually chug on a straight, logically-built track… they’re scattered and fickle. Depression can creep onto the most seemingly successful and happy people, leaving them in a dark fog that they just can’t seem to get out of. Stress, worry, anxiety, and feeling too busy or overwhelmed happens to us all: sometimes more than once a day!
Here’s a big one: not everyone tells everyone every problem they ever experience!!! ((Shocker)) Do we really overlook these souls just because it’s easier to extend a friendly nod and “Hey, how are you?” without listening to a response because we assume they’re doing just fine? Shame on us.
In the same way that we should kneel down and try to help someone in tears, or someone who is struggling to provide for their family, we should make just as much of an effort to encourage and uplift the saints who serve with a smile on their face. Everyone struggles and everyone gets lonely- Christ never meant for us to neglect the strong who are suffering for the sake of the weak. Our love should be extended to EVERY need… not just the obvious ones.
So, when was the last time that you emailed, texted, called, or actually looked that “strong person” in the eye and asked them how they were doing: ALL WHILE WAITING FOR AN HONEST RESPONSE? Probably been awhile hasn’t it? (That is, unless you happen to be really good friends with that person.) Believe it or not, there are many of those strong people who are hurting, struggling, praying for a hand to hold, lonely, and just wishing someone would invest in THEIR life for a change.
Maybe you’re on the other end: are YOU that spiritual/mental/emotional rock that everyone relies on to always be there and be OK?
Alright then… How are you REALLY doing today?