Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Barbara Streisand’s popular song from the 1960s was called “People”. You probably know it. She sings that “people who need people are the luckiest people in the world”.
That song reminded me what Dr Leonard Cammer, a psychiatrist who has specialised for 30 years in treating depressed people, said:
The human being is the only species that can’t survive alone. The human being needs another human being—otherwise he’s dead! A telephone call to a depressed person can save a life. An occasional word, a ten-minute visit, can be more effective than twenty-four hours of nursing care. You can buy nursing care. You can’t buy love.
People Need People
And isn’t it true? People need people. And we need one another even more in times of difficulty. We need to reach out and touch someone else in some meaningful way when trouble comes.
A mother spoke one night about her three-year-old daughter who wanted help in getting herself undressed. The mother said, I was upstairs and she was downstairs, and she was getting undressed. I said, ‘You know how to undress yourself’.
‘Yes’, she explained, ‘but sometimes people need people anyway, even if they do know how to do things by themselves.’
What a wonderful statement for a little three-year-old! There are times when we need to help people even when they can do some things for themselves.
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When are those times? When we’re sick or experience a serious illness. When we lose a loved one in death. When someone’s house burns down. Any time people experience some serious difficulty in life, they need the support and assistance of others.
This is where our Christianity should fly into action. Philippians 2:4 (CEV) says: “Care about them [others] as much as you care about yourselves”. When people are hurting, however, we must help them as best we can, not the least we can. It’s not always an easy thing to do. People don’t always appreciate what you’re trying to do.
Be Sensitive to People’s Needs
It reminds me years ago when a church leader was flying in a plane. It was back in the days when you could still smoke on planes, and he was sitting next to a woman who blew cigarette smoke all over him and he was getting a bit upset.
He’d had enough; he knew his clothes would smell when he arrived for a function. Suddenly he turned to the woman and said, Would you like to chew my gum for a while? The lady was insulted. What in the world do you mean? she snapped. The evangelist calmly replied, I’ve been smoking your secondhand smoke ever since we left the city. I thought you might want my secondhand gum.
“When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
Some people are very insensitive to others. They may blow smoke in your face, open their car door in a parking lot and bang your car, throw their rubbish in your bin at home, cut you off in traffic, run a red light without regard for others, run through a door while you are holding it open for some elderly person. But the worst insensitivity of all is when someone is hurting badly and no-one seems to care. The Bible says we are to care even when the act of kindness is not returned. Remember Jesus and what he did.
Matthew 9:35-36 says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
(To be continued in Helping People Who Are Hurting – Part 2)