When my daughter came home from school yesterday, she gave me this little comic drawing of a coffee cup. On the back she wrote that I was as sweet as coffee. My daughter never tasted coffee and she did not realize that coffee has a bitter taste unless sugar is added. She simply sees me drinking it and assumes it must taste good because I drink it often. Therefore she developed this false impression of the taste of coffee.
The same can be said of the Pharisees in the Bible. People observed them walking around holding people to the Law. People assumed that the Pharisees, being educated in the Scripture, were more knowledgeable and understanding of God and what He desired from us. It was quite a false impression, something that can be seen so easily when the Pharisees are called white-washed tombs (Matthew 23:27). They looked great on the outside but on the inside things were not so great. Just like the coffee looks nice and sweet because I’m drinking it each morning, but it is very bitter without some sugar.
God tells us that He desires our love, and Paul wrote that whatever we do, if it is done without love it means nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3). The Bible says that God can see our heart, our true heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He selected David because of what He saw in David’s heart. Our aim should be to have a pure heart, a heart that loves God first, and loves others. There should be no false impression, no confusion as to the appearance of our heart and our motives if we are living our lives with an outpouring of God’s love. The same love that God shows us, we can show others (1 John 4:7).
Today, look at your heart and see what is there.
• Do you love people like Jesus?
• Are you carrying around bitterness and unforgiveness?
• Where are areas for improvement in your life?
There are often moments in life when we see someone who needs encouragement, comfort, or help. Typically we will see a friend or a co-worker who is not feeling well. Or we will come across a person from our church family who needs some comforting. Even our own family needs to be shown compassion. The problem is that we are so busy today that we do not always realise it. When we do see it happening, we are so accustomed to handling everything online, that we may not know how to approach the situation. Some situations may seem so difficult, we shy away because we do not know what to say or how to act.
When Peter, James, and John went up the mountain with Jesus during the Transfiguration, they were witnesses to something very special. When they heard the voice from heaven, they fell on their faces in fear. They were “terrified” the Bible says in chapter 17 of Matthew. Jesus could have responded in any way; however, He simply did three things.
*He went to them.
*He touched them.
*He spoke to them.
Even the words He spoke were not part of some grand dissertation. He simply told them to get up and not to be afraid. He didn’t pull out a miracle and do something to show them things were okay. He did not address the voice they heard or their fears. The situation was left untouched. He could have given them more insight into the situation or attempted to discuss their feelings. Instead, it was short and sweet.
If you know someone who is in need of some comfort, some encouragement or support, do not worry that you will not know what to say or how to act. Keep it simple. Go to them. Give them a hug or pat on the back. Speak with them. In actuality, you may be listening more than anything. There’s no need to make the situation more difficult. Just being there makes all the difference. It is okay to admit you do not know what to say. The person will appreciate that you care.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
– 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 [ESV]