A few weeks ago, I came across a Facebook post for veteran's day. It was a video which spoke of the devastatingly high rate of suicide among our returning vets. At the end of the video, the speaker made the point that we each need to be involved in the lives of vets we know. He maintained that it is personal contact, real-time encouragement, and love which helps those struggling to get through dark days. He wrapped up the short clip by declaring that he would intentionally reach out to veterans, stating, "I am my brother's keeper."
This statement rang out like a bell to me and resonated deeply. Whether that man is a Christian or not, he just hit on one of the most important truths in all of scripture - one which often goes willingly ignored or is simply brushed aside - the fact that we ALL are to be our "brother's keeper." Never in any verse of scripture are we told to "leave our brothers alone" or "let him/her do their own thing." Instead we are told that the ENTIRETY of the Law and Prophets is wrapped up in these two: 1. Love God. 2. Love others.
In John 20:21 Jesus says,"...as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."
What did the Father send Jesus to do? Spread the gospel to all the world. Love others. Bind up the broken hearted. Heal. Cry with, mourn with, feel with. And ultimately die and rise again for the very people He so loved.
John 20:21 makes it very clear that we are to do the very same thing.
WE are to love others. WE are to cry with, mourn with, feel with. WE are to preach the good news. And WE are to die to ourselves that Christ might live through us in each of these actions. We are to be His hands and feet. We are to give hope to the hurting. We are to preach the gospel unashamedly for it is the only thing which can give any lasting hope, the promise of eternity spent with Christ.
The more I consider this concept, the more convicted I have become. Because really, how much do I love those around me? Oh, my friends, surely, but what do I do when I see a homeless person standing by a freeway off-ramp? How to I react to a downtrodden mother and child struggling to pay for their groceries? Do I even see them? Or do I pass right on by, on my way to the produce section?
I long to see with the eyes of Christ. I long to be moved with the compassion of the one who saw me and was willing to give His own life to save my soul. I long to be the hands and feet of Jesus because I guarantee you, if Jesus was driving my car and he saw a homeless woman by the side of the road, He'd probably go park, buy some hot chocolate, and walk over for a chat. Looking the other way isn't an option. He didn't look the other way when He saw me.
What really struck me about the "brother's keeper" video is the fact that this guy nailed the concept of loving your neighbor on the head. It takes action, time, and willingness to reach out. We need to be willing to love as Jesus loved. We need to be ready to help should the Lord bring someone in need across our path. Just as Jesus saw a hurting heart and reached out in love - so should we. Why? Because that is exactly what He sends us out to do!