Monday, June 3, 2019

Befriending the Lonely - Martin Wiles

Series: The Road to Humility
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Luke 7:39 NLT
He sat alone at the table, his head hanging down as he fidgeted with his food.  
John and Terry were new to the school and new to middle school. Though somewhat odd, together they made a wonderful pair. They stuck together like peas in a pod, one never without the other. Then, one day John sat alone at the lunch table. Terry no longer joined but sat with his classmates. I questioned John’s brother. He said John and Terry had experienced a falling out. He didn’t provide details, nor did I prompt him too.
“Will John get over it?” I asked.
“I doubt it,” he replied.
Terry tried his best to make up. John would have nothing to do with him. But one day, the shell of rejection cracked. All the boys in John’s class, including Terry, rose from their table and gathered around John at his table. Terry even sat next to John. I saw the ire on John’s face, but I also witnessed the intentionality on Terry’s. Within a week, their friendship was restored.
Jesus befriended the lowly—and the outcasts. Such as the sinful woman who interrupted His meal with the self-righteous Pharisee. Her entrance and behavior offended the Pharisee, but Jesus welcomed her, as He did anyone who came to Him sincerely and with faith.
Befriending those who others reject—the unpopular, the aged, the disabled—isn’t the easiest thing to do. By doing so, we risk being rejected too, but God commands us to love our neighbors as we do ourselves—and our neighbors are anyone who needs a neighborly touch. Different races, cultures, nationalities, and creeds. God loved the world and gave His Son to save it. He now gives us the mandate to go in His name and continue the work to all who will listen.
Putting ourselves in their place makes reaching out to them easier. Except for God’s grace, we might be in the same life situation. Imagining ourselves in their shoes creates empathy, not merely sympathy. Sympathy feels sorrow for, but does nothing. Empathy feels their pain and looks for ways to relieve it.
Being a friend to those who can’t help us in return takes intentionality, but God will show us the best way to proceed if we only ask. 
Sin separates people for each other, but God’s love brings us together. We are all God’s masterpieces in the making.
Have a friend by being a friend.
Prayer: Father, create in our hearts a love for all people and then lead us to those who need a helping hand.

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1 comment:

  1. Amen. Be a friend. Sharing a smile, a meal and conversation can truly brighten the day for everyone.