Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
We all know of someone whose world got turned upside down because of Hurricane Florence. It might be a co-worker, neighbors down the street, family or friends. Perhaps it's even you. My heart broke when I received news about our dear friends whose home flooded when over two feet of water consumed their place. Except for a few odds and ends, everything they owned had been damaged and destroyed.
Without thinking, I jumped in the car and headed their way. As I pulled into the driveway, I caught a glimpse of something so beautiful and moving while at the same time heartbreaking and tragic. This picture gave me hope for a better tomorrow. A community of folks was already there feverishly working inside the house while others cared for the hearts of the couple outside it.
Our broken and dark world made an appearance, but it was overtaken by the light of compassion and care.
Yes, water-logged possessions littered the sidewalk curb, but something more valuable remained: the love of Christ lived out. In their greatest time of need, our friends weren't alone. They were able to know without a shadow of a doubt that they were loved, cared for, and supported. There were others willing to come alongside them and shoulder their burden.
This might not make the sting of loss go away, but it is an ointment that can soothe a hurting heart.
Mourning with those that are mourning sometimes means sitting silently. We weep together. We encourage people to not lose hope. But, we can't stop there. Empathy and shouldering each other's burdens comes out through simple and small acts of love. In order for love to exist, it requires action. Mourning involves movement.
Love that remains stationary isn't love, it's theoretical compassion and intentions.
All around us are individuals and families who are hurting and in need. Bring hope to the hurting. Let your heart break for the brokenness. Humble yourself and look after the interests of others. Shine light in the midst of loss.
Play your part in letting compassion define our community.
Who is in need around you? How can you show empathy through a small act of love today?
God, let me love others through my words and actions. Help me to see the needs around me and give me the courage to respond. May I point others to the hope I have in You. In your name, Jesus. Amen.