“I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.” (Psalms 119:158)
I remember talking with a teenage girl in Brazil who was suffering with some stomach issues. She had come to me for some help and I asked her about her symptoms. After listening to her describe what could only be a parasite infection, I told her that she had worms. Instead of cringing or allowing her face to crumple in disgust, she nodded her head and agreed. I’ll never forget how innocently she said, “Of course I have worms! Everyone has those in their bellies and their toilets!”
Gross, right? Just imagine my face as I looked at her incredulously and shook my head no.
I explained that we all did NOT have worms and that she could get rid of hers by taking a regiment of medicine I handed her. She took the medicine from my hand and looked at me as if I were suddenly speaking Chinese.
This girl was very dear to me and I hated it that no one had ever explained to her that she could indeed be healthy.
In I Corinthians Paul sees all the egregious errors in the church and tries to bring them to light, not just to shame the church (although he does say he speaks to their shame concerning the fact that some had not the knowledge of God) but he points out the errors and the harm they cause because he LOVED the church and he LOVED God. He was grieved at their actions and disposition much like the psalmist is in our verse today.
To grieve someone or something would mean you would have to love the one who is bringing your heart pain. So let us ask ourselves if we love those who are not in the Word? Do we just see them as “lower” than us? Do we not care for their spiritual condition any further than to point a finger in judgement?
I could have laughed at the little Brazilian girl and called her stupid for not knowing that she didn’t have to have worms. But what good would that have done? We can pick and poke and aggravate those who are not walking in the Truth or we can pray for them, love them and point them to God.
Sometimes I think we derive some pleasure in making ourselves seem and feel better by pointing out the missteps of others. When in fact, we should be so grieved that we pray for them to see truth and understand the joy and peace found in a close relationship with our Lord.
Dwelling in God is not so that we can maintain our own spiritual life, but it is so that we can encourage others to fellowship with Him as well. Let us love our neighbor….as ourselves. Isn’t that what Jesus said?
Are you grieved today for your neighbor?
Until Next Time, Lord willing,