The world is not very interested in how people feel. It is only interested in what they do. Let me explain what I mean.
Here is a headline you will never see in your local paper: JOHN SMITH FALLS IN LOVE WITH MARY JONES. The world isn't interested in that. However, if John Smith murdered Mary Jones, then you would likely see it in the paper. You see, love doesn't sell papers. Murder does. Aren't you glad the Bible wasn't written by the Associated Press? Aren't you thankful it was written by the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit cares about matters of the heart, matters that get us ready for eternity. Caring about people and their hurts makes the church able to discuss eternal truths with them.
I want this post to help you understand how your church can be a caring church in a hurting world, a church that earns the right to discuss eternity with people. I want it to help us understand that we look to Jesus to show us how we should deal with those whose hearts are breaking. The opening verses of John 11 illustrate the difference in man's view of news and God's view of it.
John 11: 1-2 "Now a certain man was sick. Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. And it was the Mary, who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick."
Now, these first two verses could have been written for a local newspaper. It is good reporting. Emotions have all been squeezed out and nothing remains but the facts. Look at the difference. "Now a certain man was sick." That is news! And the story goes on to tell who he was, where he was from and that he had two sisters. Just factual stuff. And, he tells us about the last time these two sisters met Jesus. Interesting reporting, but without any motivation.
But now look at verse three. "The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick." See the difference? Suppose someone were to come to you and say, "There is a little child in (your town) who is sick." Oh? Is that right? Gee, thanks for letting me know. But, suppose someone came to you and said, "Your child, the child you love so much is sick." Quite a difference isn't there? Same kind of incident, but the reporting is personal. The one YOU love is sick. Do you realize that is the way God views the news every time anyone hurts? If an angel comes to God and says, "Father, (Name) is hurting", that angel must say, "Father, (Name), the one you love, is hurting."
And God's response will be proportionate because, you see, His heart breaks whenever any person's heart breaks. Anyone. And the bottom line is Christ in us will respond the same way if we let Him. The one you love is sick. The one you love is hurting. The one you love is lonely. The one you love is in pain. And on and on and on.
And so begins one of the most moving stories in the New testament. It's a story in which we are graphically reminded that God has emotions that respond to hurts and grief in a very real and personal way. I believe it is incumbent upon us to love people the way God loves them, to be affected by their hurting the way God is affected. We are His hands and His feet In this world.
I believe God's greatest grief, though, is reserved for those who reject His love, turn their back on Him, vow that He doesn't even exist. If the Bible tells us anything it is that God has done everything possible to make us aware He loves us and people still reject Him. There are consequences for rejecting God, and that is what grieves Him—having to administer those consequences.
Your church has the wherewithal to minister to people in your community that are hurting. God hurts for them. Do you?