Offering Hope for Broken People
When we take the gospel to the world, we will encounter broken people. They are everywhere and they need help. It would certainly be easier to only deal with happy, positive people. But by doing so, we would betray God’s mission (Matthew 28:18-20).
Award-winning writer Joyce Carol Oates has been busy on her Twitter account discussing depression, war, police brutality and the horrors people face in this cruel world. More of us need to start being aware and alert to those who are suffering. Oates writes in a series of tweets:
“The suicides of others are deeply unsettling–an undermining of the social fabric & life itself. The only individual I’ve known in my entire life who committed suicide had been severely manic-depressive & had repudiated medication. However, he seized upon philosophical & historical issues as if to justify his misanthropy & eventually an act of murder/suicide. It was clear, with this individual, that the neurological imbalance came first & the philosophical nihilism & eventual violence followed.” (@JoyceCarolOates on Twitter).
We can avoid the broken, blame them for their problems and walk away or we can offer a hand. The worst trait we can have as a missionary-minded Christian is to be wrapped up too tightly in our own way of life and to be naive of anything else. We must get our hands dirty if we wish to change the world (Matthew 25:34-40).
Jesus went to what the Jews saw as filth and refuse. He said to the Jewish elite, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you” (Matthew 21:31).
The abused and broken in our world are suspicious by choice. They have been lied to, rejected and condescended too many times to accept anything less than genuine grace and mercy. Their meters are very sensitive and they will not listen until they know we care and respect them as human beings (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 John 4).
We all rationalize to try to ensure that we are always right and safe in our worldview. They do the same. Self-preservation is an ingrained human trait. The problem arises when we mix in arrogance and pity.
We are all broken by sin (Romans 3:23). People are broken in body, mind and spirit. Depression, despair, drugs, disease and abuses fill the streets and homes of the world.
Jesus is the answer to all that pain (John 3:16; Philippians 4:6-7). God gave us medication in many forms. We can provide counseling, food and a bed as well as hope and kindness. We can help if we will listen and open our hearts.
Look for the periphery, the obscure…they all have souls. The Beatles told us to look for the lonely. Good advice.