Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." (New International Version 1984)- Isaiah 58:9-10
When I read that verse this morning, I immediately began to think about the times I have encountered pointing fingers and malicious talk. Sometimes it has been directed at myself. Sometimes it has been directed at others but it always hurts rather than heals.
It is easy to blame the victim isn't it. We assume that someone is in poverty because they are lazy and even greedy as we believe (often secretly) that they simply want something for nothing. We believe someone is in crisis because they are seeking attention. We believe that someone is sick because they like to be sick. While there certainly are a few people who are like this (we need to remember that this is often a sign of mental illness), most people do not enjoy being unable to provide for themselves, having turmoil in their lives or being ill. They would prefer to be self-sufficient, live a peaceful life and be healthy and strong.
Rather than pointing fingers and talking/thinking maliciously about people, God has given us the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives. We can be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, reaching out to the poor, the oppressed, the sick and the broken-hearted.
Jesus did not just focus on the spiritual needs of the people He encountered any more than He than He did not just focus on their physical/emotional needs. He focused on both and we must do the same. Are we?
Your ability to blog amazes me.
Great blog! A teacher once mentioned in class that he used to be the kindof guy that if he saw someone sitting on the side of the road during the day with his feet up he would immediately be irritated thinking how lazy that man was and why wasn't he at work? Then his heart began to change and he realized that he was in no position to judge. For all he knew the man might have just come off a 12 hour night shift and was waiting for the bus home. JUDGE. It seems like such a harsh word but it really is accurate. Whenever we compare others to ourselves and find them wanting... we are JUDGING. We don't know their story, history, life events, circumstances, abilities, inabilities, etc.
I so appreciate what you said in the above comment "I should be empathetic and thinking less about what I think and more about how God wants me to respond." I can't tell you how often I get what people "think" and empathy and compassion are thrown out the window. One time I was so brow beaten but my "friend" told me I had to listen to her because it was all in "Christian love". I thought "that is not Christian love...that is you beating me over the head with YOUR opinion based on limited facts".
Point being...we ALL do it...I do too...we look and compare and judge and advise and many times based on our own opinions and moral gage. Oh to see beyond the outward person... and see not with our eyes but HIS.
Thank you so much K for this GREAT and necessary blog. You hit it on the head! Great reminder for us all!