HomeWord - July 16, 2010

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Hurting on the Inside 

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ. —Galatians 6:2

I needed to chop an onion as I prepared dinner the other day. From the outside, it looked like a normal, fresh onion, but when I cut it open… yikes! I found it was rotten on the inside. It wasn't a pleasant experience. There was no salvaging this onion!

This was a simple reminder to me about life. It's hard to tell from looking at someone what's going on inwardly. It can be extremely difficult to see from appearances whether or not someone is hurting. Most people do a pretty good job of looking as though everything is going okay in their lives. Asking someone, "How are you?" is largely a form of greeting in today's culture, just as the reply, "I'm fine" is also. I'm convinced that most people don't really want to know how someone is (especially if the answer is anything other than "fine" or "good") and probably just as few people really want to share on a deep level with those they only know casually.

The reality, however, is that many people are hurting. As Christ-followers, it's our responsibility to look beyond appearances, come alongside the people in our lives, and carry each other's burdens. It's our duty to provide care, support and encouragement for those around us. Jesus commands us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

How do we see what's going on in someone else's life? Primarily, we need to strengthen and deepen relationships with others in our lives, in order to look beyond appearances. This, without question, takes an investment of time, attention, and energy. Frankly, it's easier to keep relationships shallow. But, that's not what God calls us to do. We are designed to be salt and light to those around us. Salt needs to penetrate whatever it seasons and preserves to do its work. Light interacts with darkness in order to dispel it. Bearing one another's burdens means investing in people to be able to determine what burdens them, so that we can begin to make those burdens lighter.

Today, I am certain that there is someone in your world who is hurting. In Jesus' name, find a way to encourage, support and bring healing to this person's life!

GOING DEEPER:

  1. How well do you know what is going on in the lives of your closest relatives and friends? How would you know if one of them were really struggling with life issues?
  2. Is there someone in your life that you know could use help in carrying the burden they bear? What specific action can you take this week to help this person?

FURTHER READING: 
Matthew 5:13-16; Luke 10:25-37; James 2:8 

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