Some friends and I were talking recently about someone who was betrayed in a horrific way. This person was publicly humiliated, heartbroken and never saw it coming.
One of my friends said, “You just never know what someone is going through.” And that is a tremendous truism. You really don’t. You probably passed by all kinds of hurting people even today. People who are facing illnesses that are hidden from view. People who are heartbroken by the cruel and selfish actions of others. People who are grieving. People who are burdened by regret. People who live in fear. People who may put on a smile, but carry heavy hearts and tremendous worries. We aren’t seriously fooled by people who look put together and act like life is a bowl of cherries, are we? Because as the best-book-title-ever says, “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them.”
A safer assumption is that even that person who struts and laughs and has all the right answers struggles with something. And some of the people you’d least expect struggle a lot.
It’s important that we live in community enough to share how we struggle. Sometimes when I’ve shared the heavy concerns of my heart, I’ve seen relief wash over people’s faces. I’ve watched shoulders literally relax. You can see it, before they say it: Me too. I know exactly what you mean because of this, and this and that. And boy does it feel good to tell someone!
I hope you have friends who are willing to listen, friends who can talk you through, pray you through and love you all the while. We all need love like this. And Jesus said that His followers would be known by their love for one another (John 13:35). Is that how I’m known? Is that how the community I live in is regarded?
Because Jesus sets a high bar: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Praying tonight that I’ll be sensitive to those hurting around me. May there be evidence that I am a disciple.