"But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need."
Some very wise men (The Rolling Stones) once said this. :P
Sadly my husband keeps using this against me every time I say I want a puppy. (eventually I shall prevail :P) But I don't want to talk about puppies today. I want to talk about pain.
Being human is painful. Let's face it. Aside from cuts, scrape, bruises, broken bones, we have heart ache, abandonment, neglect, abuse. Sin that entered this world by the first man corrupted the world. James describes world with these words: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” (James 3:16) "The way of the sinner is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). We are often weary and heavy laden. Cheerful start to your morning, huh?
The good news is, this pain won't last forever. Revelation 21:4 gives us hope for a brighter future: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away."
Unfortunately, we have no idea how long until that day comes, so for now, we have to deal with the pain of living in this world, as well as the additional pain of trying to live in this world and walk by the Spirit. Jesus was honest with his disciples about the difficulty of this task. “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:18-20)
However, it's still not all doom and gloom, because Jesus, our master, left us with authority: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
So we're stuck in this world where we endure pain and persecution, but we have the authority of a master who is greater than any other. What do we do when the walk isn't as easy as we had hoped? What do we do when we see someone struggling between their deceitful and wick heart (Jeremiah 17:9) and the Holy Spirit's guidance?
Finally we get to the passage that inspired this post. I found this while wandering through some Bible: "This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him? Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. This is how we will know we belong to the truth and will convince our conscience in His presence, even if our conscience condemns us, that God is greater than our conscience, and He knows all things." (1 John 3:16-20)
The parts of these verses that stood out to me were when John writes of proving for our brother's need, as well as acting with truth and action.
If a man is starving and says that he wants a new car, what do you give him? When we see a person with a great emotional and spiritual need, do we cater to what they want, which might for you to take it easy on them or validate their sinful heart? Or do we stand our ground and tell them what the Word of God says, regardless of how it may make them feel?
Granted we don't go around throwing our Bibles as people. Peter tells us that when we are faced with a question about our faith, "Always be ready to give a defense [an answer] to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect." However, life is too short to pull punches. Life is too short to get hung up in your pain and forget to keep searching for God's glorious will in your life.
So when you see a person who wants one thing, but the Word says he needs another, what will you do? Will you speak out in truth? Or lick their wounds with them? And how might you be preoccupied with what you want, rather than what you spiritually need?