Met by Compassion

One of the biggest things which has come out of this Pandemic and Lockdown situations is our need for kindness; our need for compassion.

We have been writing a series for our church looking at people Jesus met and how He stopped; listened; acknowledged; respected and showed compassion to those individuals. Today I share my own contribution to that series:

Today we meet a woman who was caught in the act of adultery.  She was publicly dragged out and accused of her ‘crime’.  She was publicly humiliated with fingers-pointing & tongues wagging; so-called friends began to withdraw away not wanting to be associated with her.

She was labelled; she was condemned.

Except by Jesus – He stood by her; He stood up for her and faced her accusers for her, “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her”.

That sent them packing; some grumbling; some a bit ashamed, till there is no-one left to accuse.  Jesus asks her, Where are they?  Did no-one condemn you?

And then Jesus speaks the kindest words;

‘Neither do I condemn you.”  I don’t condemn you either.

Jesus doesn’t condemn her, nor does He leave her where she is or has been; He delivers her from that past; from those labels; from the sin.  He gives her a new life; the past has been dealt with and He says ‘go now and sin no more”.  The past is gone; forgiven; not condemned; but set free.

Maybe you need to hear those words today.  Maybe you have been labelled in the past and people remember; people still point the finger; tongues still wag.  But Jesus doesn’t condemn you; He sets you free; He delivers you; there is new life to be found in Him.

Know today that Jesus will stand by you; Jesus will stand up for you; Jesus will face your accusers for you; Jesus will deliver you.

“Go now and from now on do not live in that sin anymore.”.  Forgiven; set-free; redeemed!

[This story can be found in John 8:1-11]

Human Connection

Essays Touched by God - Deborah Smith Douglas

With more Lockdown and travel restrictions being imposed in parts of our country, one of the things my elderly mum very much misses is that human connection. None of her children live nearby, she has friends, very good friends and lots of cousins she would normally she would meet up with, so to face more isolation in yet again another lockdown is actually just depressing for her. She has done so well, she was in a routine, she was going out for walks and chatting to people from a safe distance, and in the summer she could even sit in her front garden and chat to people passing by.

But now? Drawing the curtains against the dark at 4 O’clock in the afternoon is isolating, taking a walk involves wearing multiple layers of clothing and waterproofs which weighs down and frankly just seems too difficult at times.

These restrictions on family/friends/social life are so hard on the elderly and those living alone, they need to see a friendly face, they need to be able to get out and socialize or the danger is that they will wilt under the isolation, they need contact to keep them going, give them something to do, have a focus other than themselves.

And what about touch? Some people have not experienced human touch for months. No kissing as a greeting, no hugging to say goodbye, no holding hands in empathy, no laying your hand on an arm as an act of solidarity. Nothing, none of that warmth of human contact. Just cold and empty.

What is it about touch? There is no substitute for it. It comforts and reassures in ways that other gestures and words cannot. Touch can be like medicine to relieve stress, calm nerves and ease tension. Without touch, without that feel of another human being, life is lonely.

I wonder if that is why Jesus when He was healing people often reached out and touched them, they needed more than a Word of healing, they need the feel of compassion, the feel of being heard and seen, the feel of worth.

He took Peter’s mother-in-law by the hand and took away her fever (Matthew 8:14-15). He touched the eyes of two blind men and gave them sight (Matthew 9:27-31). He touched the ears and the tongue of a deaf mute and gave him hearing and speech (Mark 7:31-35). He even touched a leper to make him clean (Mark 1:40-42) and He allowed a hemorrhaging woman to reach out and touch Him (Luke 8:44). Touch, oh to be touched by the Saviour!

Lord, when we can’t be there, when we can’t reach out and touch, will You do that for us? Will you reach out and touch our loved ones? As You reached out to those in need, will you please reach out now and touch those who are lonely, those who are struggling, those who are weeping with no-one to even see, those with heavy, heavy hearts and those who just don’t know how they are going to survive another lockdown, please reach down and touch them.

Respect

got Respect?

Joining with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers, where we write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. Today’s prompt is: Respect.

Respect is something we all wish for, don’t always get and don’t always earn!

But we want to be respected as a person, we want to be heard, we want our opinions to matter, we want our needs to be met in a dignified and respected way. This is most seen, and most needed in our Care Homes which have been very much been under the spotlight in recent times during this Corona Virus Pandemic.

I believe since we are all made in the image of God, we all have the right to be respected, to be treated well, to be loved even. When do I see Jesus doing this for others? When he washed their feet.

the evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

John 13: 2-5

Dirty, prideful, sinful, corrupted men they may have been, but Jesus got down on his knees and respectfully, lovingly washed their feet.

And He says to us … go and do likewise.

Week 3; Day 4 – Drinking

Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them, a spring of water welling up to eternal live.

John 4:13

Hens have a sweet wee way of drinking, they don’t gulp it down in one go, they take it up in their mouths and it is as if they savour it there for a moment or two before swallowing. The chicks do this too, very interesting to watch!

Another lesson for us – do we savour the Word of God? Do we let it sink in or are we always in such a rush that we just take a big gulp and then rush into our day without savouring it, without really tasting it, without being refreshed by it?

We need to slow. We need to take the time for the Word to get into us and refresh us. We need to drink long and deeply of the Word of life.

Lord, refresh my soul in You today. May I drink long and deep of You today. Amen.

This is part of a series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to return to the introduction/contents page please click here.