The Truth about Guilt Meditations: 34. Guilt of Blindness – to the Need of the World
Jn 3:16 God so loved the world that…..
Mt 11:5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Continuing: It is a strange thing that we live in a world with the best communications it has ever known and yet so often we remain oblivious to the plight of so much of it. Indifference – lack of interest, concern, or sympathy – so often is an un-Christlike characteristic that blights our lives. It is thus one of those ways we are seeking out that hinder our Christian lives in this twenty-first century. In the previous study I mentioned the self-rights-concern that was evidenced in many during the days of the Pandemic, a failure to be aware of the needs of the vulnerable.
The Caring of Jesus: Jesus, as he expressed his Father’s love for the world, did not merely speak words, he reached out and touched people (often literally) and used the power of God to transform their lives, delivering them from sickness or infirmity. As we noted previously he was concerned for the physical world as well as the spiritual. Now before I say anything else let me declare again (as I hope all these series of meditations confirm) that my total belief is that the Gospel, coming to believe in Jesus as Saviour and Lord is THE most important thing we have to convey. But we must add that it must come with the love of God and that should also include interest, concern and sympathy for those around us.
Caring for others: This is part of the package that God has built into us, not merely for the welfare of the world but for our own wellbeing as well. A study carried out in the University of California, Berkeley, showed that the mortality rates of those who volunteered for two or more organisations reduced by 44 per cent. It further noted that in American teenagers, those who are giving, hopeful and socially effective are also happier, more active, involved and excited than their less engaged contemporaries. Even more, adults who gave social support to others experienced reduced anxiety over their own situation when under economic stress, those offering emotional support to others helped people forgive themselves for their own mistakes, and in elderly couples, those who did not provide support to others had higher rates of mortality.
Our Need: The truth is that when we become inward looking we experience such things as depression, loss of hope for the future and anxiety in the present, far more. The world is hurting because of its sin and therefore to minister to that, we need the following things:
– to understand Sin and its effects (as we saw in a previous study)
– to understand the wonder of our God who is there for this world (ditto)
– to know and experience the wonder of His salvation (ditto)
– to conclude this is what the world desperately needs.
Jesus came to convey the love of the Father to the world in the way he spoke and acted and then said, “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing. “ (Jn 14:12) Have we become so caught up in our own little world and its inward looking struggles that we have lost perspective and forgotten that we are God’s answer to this fallen, hurting and dysfunctional world?
A Parable: Mercy Ships is a Christian organisation that provides hospital ships that go around the world providing wonderful, free, life transforming surgery for thousands of people who have no access in their own countries to such facilities. The job of one crew member is to manage the gangplank or gangway onto the ship. He wrote, “I connect the big, white hospital ship to the people it serves. Every journey of transformation begins with me. Forty three steps up …. courageous steps of hope. They include physical pain and discomfort and usually emotional scars. I can feel their weight. Inside they receive free surgery. They are loved. Then – forty three steps down. I can feel the extra bounce in their steps, filled with excitement and anticipation of what is to come …. excitement for the new life that awaits them.”
That is a description of a physical experience and it is wonderful and I believe God is blessed by them. And it may be God might call you to something like that. But it crosses my mind that each of us could be like that gangway, providing access from a sin-sick world to encounter the living God. People come with their pain and scars and as we share our testimonies and the good news of Jesus and reach out to them in love, they are taken into the presence of the Holy One and are transformed. Then, just maybe, we may be part of the process that helps and encourages and equips them to go back into the world, transformed and transforming.
Facing Our Indifference: I recognize that sometimes, with the barrage of bad news from around the world we can become world-weary, or we see celebrities from time to time encouraging us to give money to charities, and we feel jaded as we think of their affluence that grossly exceeds ours. Yes, these are things that can leave us feeling indifferent to the needs of the world, left with a feeling of, “What can I do, I am only one, and anyway others have more money and talents than me, so why am I feeling guilty?” and so we retreat into the safety of our homes. And then Jesus comes, knocking on our front door saying, “Can I come in and eat with you”, and then in his company we feel his concerns. Then he reaches out and takes you hand and says, “Come with me, let me lead you into a new day where the gifts and talents I’ve put within you can be used with my help to bless others. Will you come with me?”