A couple of weeks ago while back in Hastings visiting my husband’s parents, we attended church with them on Sunday morning. I won’t share what was preached during the whole message, mainly because I can’t remember the whole outline of the sermon, but I did want to share a thought that Pastor shared with the congregation in his message that struck a chord with me, and has left an impression over the past few weeks.
Pastor asked the congregation how many of us feel good when someone does something nice for us, or shows us love. Pastor then asked how many of the congregation has kids. Quite a few hands shot up. Pastor then asked how many of us like it when someone shows our kids love, or is nice to our kids. Almost all of the parents present raised their hands. Pastor then went out to talk about how when we treat other people with respect and love, that it makes God happy, since we are showing God’s people love.
That got me to thinking how many times in a day I have the opportunity to show the people around me love. I think for me personally, it’s so easy to continue to show animosity and bitterness or anger towards those who maybe don’t treat me the way that I want to, or do something that I don’t agree with. And I began to think about how this makes God feel about my thoughts and actions that I have towards my fellow brothers and sisters here on earth. It saddens him to see us treat those around us in a way that is not honoring to him. But at the same time, God feels joy when we react to our brothers and sisters in a way that honors him and shows love towards them.
The way that I treat those around me, is a direct reflection of where my heart currently is in my relationship with God at that particular moment. My actions can show love towards God, or when I fall into temptation and say hurtful things, or treat someone in way that might be mean, it shows that my heart is not in line with God, and I am not honoring my relationship with him. This is a hard line for me to walk, and something hard to balance at times, especially in field I work in. I work with many who have some significant drug addictions, or mental health issues. But I am finding that I can build relationships with these people and help them out in way that does not condone or support the negative choices they are making. I think this is what God was saying when he said the following:
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40
We all have a choice to make when we are confronted by those who are in need in our lives, whether it be physical, or spiritual in nature. We can do something to help address the need, or pray the need is met, or turn away from the need. BUT, how we decide to react to that need, can show love not only to our neighbor, but also to God.
So I encourage you to open up your eyes to those around you, and see where you can demonstrate your love for God by helping those in need around you.