Sunday, June 25, 2017

Devotional: Be Tenderhearted and Courteous

"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me."
‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭12:7-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Paul had a physical affliction that he couldn't find relief for. He pleaded with the Lord to heal him, but He said,  “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  The answer was, "No."

Those who have chronic conditions can identify with Paul. They plead with God for healing, but for some reason, He says, "No." They try many therapies and medications to find relief.

I never cease to be amazed at how often well-meaning Christians offer their opinions to those who are suffering physically or mentally when they really do not have a clue to what that person has done or tried to alleviate their suffering.  They also do not understand the extent to which they suffer.

The most insensitive advice comes from those who, while they are "well-meaning", tell the suffering person that if they have enough faith God will heal them. Yesterday I read a post on Facebook that said the following to a person who has a chronic illness:

"Why all the "need" for narcotics? It truly does not sound like it's working. I'm not going to sugar coat this for you. What are the benefits in the long run vs changing other areas in your life. YES - I'M being BOLD. God gave us health and means for health LONG BEFORE BIG PHARMA came in the scene.
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Proverbs 27:6"

These kinds of comments and opinions are hurtful and discouraging to those who are doing the best they can with a difficult situation.

These well-meaning, yet misinformed Christians need to take a look at the Apostle Paul.  

1.  He had more faith in God than any of us. He was jailed for his faith, yet God did not heal him even though he begged three times for God to do just that

2.  Paul had access to the "means for health" that the above person referenced. Although Scripture doesn't specifically tell us what he did to find relief, I'm sure he availed himself of what he could, and yet it did not heal him.

God has His purposes for why He chooses to heal some and not others and He doesn't always inform us as to "why?".  Our purpose as Christian brothers and sisters is to encourage, comfort, love and pray for those who are suffering. Nothing more and nothing less. Judgment and opinions are not helpful.

"Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;"

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