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The Body, Reaching Out

Topics:   serving    mental health    faith    community    church   

Posted by Rod Neufeld on July 25, 2016

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

What happens when fear takes over or our mind doesn’t feel that sound anymore? What do we do when we see this struggle in others? How we treat others with these struggles reflects how we feel about Christ. How is this?

We are all created in the image of God. We are all given gifts and we have other things going on in our lives. If we are created in His image and given a sound mind, how do these things happen? I can’t address that question.

The other question is why does the church so often push aside those with struggles? These are questions we need to ponder and for which we need to pray. In the mean time lets address what we can do about it.

I struggle with things emotionally and mentally. I think most of us if not all of us do. To top it off I, like many others struggle, to find people in the church to whom I can speak about these things. What saddens me is that I’m pretty much an open book. So, what about those who’s struggle run even deeper and don’t feel comfortable opening up to anyone?

I have friends with struggles far greater than mine and for the most part all I can do is pray There is there other problem: we need to PRAY! We need to leave it ALL out there at the feet of Christ and believe that He does as He promises.

I have witnessed first hand His response to prayer in my life When you get that call at 3:00 AM and the answer is for exactly what you asked and when you asked. Doubt is gone and faith is strengthened.

The Church needs to address this; we need to be on the front lines. Helping those that struggle with things that cannot always be seen. When left unattended, people will turn to other methods to treat their struggles by self-medicating with alcohol and drugs, just to name a few.

When this happens we often find it creates more distance between the church and the suffering of many of its members. I think of what Christ spoke about in Matthew 25 and feel it applies here.

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?” Matthew 25:34-37 KJV

You noticed that it says “Lord, when saw we” it doesn’t say “Lord when you told us to help you we helped”. As ministers of the Gospel, we need to get off of our Royal backsides and put hand to plow. If you ask someone “How are you today” you better have the heart to accept the answer you are given and then respond! People, especially those that struggle with emotional and mental issues, know when you are sincere and when you are offering a platitude!

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:38-40 KJV

I’m calling on my brothers and sisters in Christ: Join me in opening our eyes and hearts to the struggles around us both inside and outside the church. We have a responsibility to the world to minister to the needs and struggles of all
people. Perhaps one day those outside will enter in to the glorious Body of Christ because the words, “The Church,” will mean something different to those that once despised or feared it.

I saw Geoff Moore in concert a couple of years ago. He performed a song called “The Body of Christ”. What struck me was the first few lines:

It’s the voice on the corner

Crying in pain

It’s the hand in the pocket

That’s reaching for change

The heart that is willing to give it away

This is the body of Christ

(Geoff Moore, “The Body”, Saying Grace, 2011)

Are we truly willing?
I don’t mean just willing to respond when asked. I mean willing to open our eyes and act on what our hearts are saying.

The Church in North America needs to stop shooting their wounded and start showing the same grace and mercy that Christ showed us. We all had the same dirt on our hands before He washed us clean: The drug addict, the prostitute, the high school principal, the tattooed preacher. We all wore the same stained coat before Christ gave us a cloak of righteousness.

What is the outcome of sharing someone’s pain and struggles? Well for starters you may just be helping someone that has been left behind by many. You may make a friend. You may even be the one that helps remove a stumbling block between that person and salvation. You just don’t know.

That’s the beauty of it. We are not called to seek rewards for our kindness, we are called to be kind because we received kindness, grace and mercy when we deserved none of it.

This is a little different than usual for me, but it’s a matter of responding to what the Holy Spirit puts on your heart. Mental and emotional illnesses and conditions effect so many people. They don’t always manifest or show in the same way. We need to really be there for people.

Besides what I mentioned earlier, what’s the outcome if we truly reach out? Let’s go back to the Gospel of Matthew and find out:

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34 KJV