I’m wondering if you’ve ever heard of the old Indian proverb that says, “Help me not to judge another man until I’ve walked a mile in his moccasins”. It’s a very helpful statement, because I want to speak for a moment about ‘sitting where others sit’. It’s very easy to judge or criticise another person for something they have done; but do we really understand that person? Do we really sit where they sit? Today we need to sit where others sit. We need to feel their burdens, we need to feel their agony. We need to be consciously aware of their sufferings, their discouragements, their disappointments, their oft times agony and pain.
If the average person could only sit where the homeless sit, could sit with the rejected, could sit with the disabled, sit with the unemployed, sit with those who are suffering from AIDS and other communicable diseases; if we could just sit where they sit, I believe that our attitudes about them would be completely different. If we could only share the pain that they feel, perhaps our empathy and our sympathy for them would be greater. We would think twice about judging them.
If those who are rich in the world’s goods would only one day sit with those who are unemployed, those who are on welfare, I believe that we, too, would find a different meaning and understanding. We would find, somehow, a way to spend more money on bread than we spend on bombs and nuclear arms. Our Lord is concerned for every person on this planet, regardless of their status.
There is good news for those who are weary, burdened and heavy-laden, or those who are suffering and experiencing tremendous rejection and pain or those who are lonely and feeling abandoned. There is a God who stands at the centre of this universe of ours who holds the world together with the sense of his love, who tells us that he cares about us. The one everlasting fact about the Christian faith that stands head and shoulders above all others is that there is a God who stands at the centre of this world who is consciously concerned about you and me. He is touched by the feeling of our infirmity. He cares what happens to the sheep that are lost, to the lily which begins to fade, to the reed that is bruised and bent, to the prodigal who steps across a far country. He cares about those who sit on the city streets asking for money. He cares about the banker and the blue-collar worker. He cares about the sinner and the saint. He cares about you and me. And that’s great news.
Did you know that God is depending on you and me to do something to help others? So I want you to know that in this day of confusion and chaos not only must we sit where others sit, but we must share their burdens and their pains. I am mindful of two little girls who one day walked down the street and saw a church that seemed dark, a church that had no light. As they looked at the church, a beautiful Gothic building, they said to themselves, “What an ugly church this is.” An old sister saw the two young ladies talking and she invited them to come in. As they were walking into the church she said, “You know, there is a reason why the church seems the way it is. It does seem dark and it does seem ugly on the outside, but you have to walk inside to see the light.”
We need to see the light. We need to let the light of the Lord shine in our hearts. We need to be concerned about all of God’s children. It’s not just a matter of sitting where they sit, but getting up and doing something about it. There are people all around with hurts and pain, and we can bring hope to them with a bit of effort and compassion. If we could do this, what a better world it would be.
I sought my God.
But my God is a Spirit.
I sought my soul.
But my soul eluded me.
Then I sought my brother.
And I found all three –
My God, my soul,
my brother and me.
Years ago a woman died in a small town. She was a widow and mostly a recluse. Everyone thought of her as having little. She didn’t have a lot, but when she died she left a third of her modest estate to the church to be used for the poor, because, she said, “The church knows who they are.” What a wonderful compliment, and that is how it should be. We in the church should be at the forefront of helping others, sharing their pain, and sitting where they sit.
Source: Greg Inghram.
We give thanks, O God, that you choose to touch our world with compassion, freely offering the wholeness and restoration we need. Help us make choices along life’s path that reveal your healing power to others. Amen. (Seasons of the Spirit, February 12, 2006).