United Church of God

Treasure Digest: Caring for the Wounded

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Treasure Digest

Caring for the Wounded

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Have you ever considered how messy, smelly and uncomfortable it must have been for the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) to take care of the man who was robbed? It's easy to see why people with fine sensibilities might shudder and pass by instead of trying to lift and carry someone who has been beaten bloody and senseless—who perhaps has emptied the contents of bowels, bladder and stomach all over himself. In the parable, the priest and the Levite go out of their way to avoid the wounded man and don't even try to help.

A Christian who suffers chronic discouragement can be as unpleasant to be around as that wounded man in the parable must have been. It's very hard to fight spiritual battles when you are emotionally crawling along the ground. This may be why Paul encouraged the Corinthians to prove their love for their repentant brother—so that he would not be swallowed up in despair and fall prey to the devil (2 Corinthians 2:7-8, 11).

Pitching in to care for a wounded brother or sister in the Church can be very uncomfortable. When someone is struggling with deep discouragement—and is asking the question, "Does God still love me?"—we ought to show him by our behavior that the answer is "Yes—God loves you and we love you."

This may take us out of our comfort zone and even inconvenience us. Depending on how long a person has lived in the prison of discouragement, it may take a very long time for the truth of our love and God's love for the discouraged brother to be heard and trusted as genuine. But like a gentle rain soaking into sun-baked, iron-hard ground, love and care will have its effect, and bear fruit in due time.

A person who feels uncared for will spiral deeper into despair, but active displays of care and interest by the brethren can help restore a faltering Christian's faith in our love and God's love.

The gift of encouragement can lift a struggling brother back to his feet and enable him to resume growing. It is our duty to our brothers and sisters in the Church. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves" (Romans 15:1, KJV). This is part of learning to love as God loves.

Christ commanded us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34; 15:12). We must learn not to pass by on the other side of the street, but to roll up our sleeves and take care of our sisters and brothers when they have been struck down by the enemy.