I just received an email from a dear friend. She is in the midst of a significant family crisis. Her husband is very ill and is in the hospital, she is raising her disabled grandchild and she has serious, chronic health problems of her own. People tell her “Let me know if you need anything” but then they walk away.
Why do people do that? I have a theory, and it is borne out of my own life history…I’ve done it. I didn’t intend to be insensitive, but I was nonetheless. Admittedly, I was busy (working 2 or 3 jobs, parenting special needs kids as a single mom). Sometimes I would help but sometimes I didn’t see how I had the time to do anything helpful. Even when I knew that there was likely nothing I had the ability to do, I’d say “Let me know if you need anything” anyway. Why? Honestly, in retrospect, I think it was because it made ME feel better! Well, guess what? It wasn’t supposed to be about ME!
James 2: 15-16 says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” I’m thinking that saying “Let me know if you need anything” and walking away is essentially the same thing as James speaks of in this passage.
I’m thankful for the opportunities to help that I DID seize upon , and saddened and ashamed for the times when all I did was spout a platitude. Hurting people don’t need platitudes. They need love that comes with hands and feet.
Lord, help me to see the people around me who need something and help me to GIVE IT. Help me to be love in action.