There’s a phrase that I often hear from people when I ask them how they are doing. I guess I will say I am okay. It does no good complaining. No one cares anyway. Now for my complaint…
It really upsets me to hear people say things like this because I know that no matter what, someone cares. Always. And yes, complaining too much is a bad thing. The Israelites spent a lot of time grumbling in the Wilderness. But there are moments when we are upset and it is okay to verbalize our feelings.
I am currently reading the Book of Psalms. As I page through, again and again I read of the Psalmist crying out to God, pouring out his emotions. There is no holding back. There is nothing but pure, honest truth. And yes, there is some complaining. Today I want to remind you that God cares about you and EVERYTHING you are going through. And there are people in this world who care as well. Don’t go through your days not opening up and connecting. If you keep everything to yourself, then you are not really having a relationship at all.
“The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots
because I’ve lived so badly.
And now I’m flat on my face
feeling sorry for myself morning to night.
All my insides are on fire,
my body is a wreck.
I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it—
my life is a vomit of groans.”
-Psalm 38:5-8 [MSG]
If you are the older sibling, you might have heard the phrase “look after” your brother or sister. If you are in a management position, your job is to “look after” whatever you are managing, and this usually includes a group of people. When you have children, you “look after” them.
Looking after someone requires time and attention. Looking after someone at its best requires love and dedication. Looking after someone or something requires caring. Looking after someone requires being intentional and present.
The author of Hebrews wrote, “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.” He went on to mention bitterness that leads to trouble and corruption. We spend a lot of time looking after ourselves, looking after our families, looking after our co-workers—let us not forget to look after our brothers and sisters.
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” – Hebrews 12:15 [NLT]
When I was recently reading about Joseph, Genesis 37:4 stuck out to me: “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (NIV). The verse states that the brothers of Joseph could not speak a kind word to him. I considered that inability the brothers had and could not imagine not being able to say something kind to a person, even someone I am not very fond of or on good speaking terms. Even with someone who rubs me the wrong way, I am able to find something kind to say to that person.
The Bible says that the brothers of Joseph hated him. They were jealous that their father loved him more. Joseph was given a robe that would be something worn by royalty. We can see the damage favoritism can cause in our lives. Plus Joseph was also a bit of a tattle tale as well, and this surely caused more hatred to brew.
You may know some people who aren’t easy to love. Though it may be a challenge, we need to show these people love. As Jesus said, what is it to show love to someone who is easy to love? It is so much more to show love to those who can be a challenge—those who make us sacrifice—those who don’t make it so easy. If there is someone who rubs you the wrong way, go out of your way today to say something kind to that person. You might be surprised at how God will use your kind words.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” Luke 6:31-35 [NIV]
Do you wash your hands? It is a strange question for me to ask. Most people would think that I was making a suggestion about your hygiene; however, I am not talking about washing your hands as part of a routine for good hygiene. In Matthew 27, when Jesus was standing before Pilate, there was a great push for His crucifixion. Pilate did not want anything to do with what was to come, and so he washed his hands before the crowd and claimed his innocence in the matter.
If we turn a few chapters back in Matthew, we read about judgment. We do not like to discuss judgment, but Jesus painted a clear picture. He gave us an important image, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me” (Matthew 25:42-43 NASB).
When I ask if you wash your hands, I am referring to helping your fellow brothers and sisters. Do you wash your hands and move along, ignoring reality, ignoring the needs of others? Or do you help to take care of the needs around you? Jesus said if we feed a person who is hungry, it is as if we are feeding Him. If we clothe someone who is without clothing, it is as if we are providing Him with clothing.
Helping others does not always take some overabundance of finances and belongings. People who have so little are like the widow who gave so much– providing for the needs around them without concern for letting go of something. I have seen people who do not have a large savings help to buy food and clothing for another family. I have seen families barely getting by invite others into their homes for dinner. I have seen people barely scraping by provide for the needs of others.
So I ask you today, do you wash your hands? Do you say that it’s not your problem and you won’t be bothered by it? Or do you pull up your sleeves and see what you can do for others? What you can do for Jesus?
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
– Acts 20:35 [ESV]