Hello, friends. If you’re a Christian, I’d like to talk to you a bit about being a “living epistle to be read of men,” as the scriptures reference. In other words, I’d like to encourage you to let your daily actions cause others who may not know Jesus as Lord see Him through you. Even if you’re not a Christian, something written in this column can still influence you to conscientiously impact someone else’s life through positive action.
When you purpose in your heart to brighten someone else’s day, especially when they’ve had a “this is the last straw” kind of day in the midst of a tumultuous month or year, you cause them to change how they view their life or problems.
Whereas people tend to misinterpret molehills as mountains, you can cause them to adjust their focus so that they can see the truth — that those “mountains” are only illusions, surmountable problems, mere molehills to be conquered.
When you walk in wisdom, having a discerning heart, you can be the best example of wholesome living that you can possibly be. You represent that tangible thing that those who are taunted by life’s pressures can look at, grab a hold of and walk in — that thing called victory, or triumph.
When you have an encounter with someone who’s having a bad day, even when he or she doesn’t express it, you get the wisdom and the power and divine insight into the very core, into the depths of that person’s heart when his or her outward appearance is showing you something totally different.
What is shown outwardly belies the storm that person is encountering within. That person can be laughing and playing and filled with joy, on the outside, but inside, that person can be contemplating suicide. The issues of life can be pounding on that person and pounding on him and pounding. But that person could be afraid that if he reaches out to someone and shares what’s been eating away at his peace and threatening his very existence, the person(s) he reaches out to will pass judgment on him.
This is why it is important to have “a discerning heart.” When one operates in discernment, that person, in essence, is listening to their intuition, or that gut feeling within, that warns them that something may be wrong with the person they are talking to. When one is moved with compassion concerning the affairs of others, it causes the ones going through turbulent times to open up, to even begin to have hope as they become more trusting of the one offering help.
According to statistics gathered by Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, or SAVE, an organizations dedicated to suicide prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death here in the United States for all ages. There is one death in this country by suicide every 12 minutes. Moreover, suicide claims the lives of some 44,965 Americans each year. Depression, one of the noted causes of suicide, affects 20%-to-25% of Americans, ages 18-and-up, in any given year.
That said, we’ve got to really be prayerful that we sense when someone needs a compassionate hug or smile or encouraging word. Depression and hopelessness are real. But so is the aid that God wants to render to them through us.
Sometimes people can be disrespectful for no apparent reason. But, the disrespect you may feel could very well be a result of a lack of self-respect from the other person. I often say it is good to be slow to anger and quicker on the draw relative to understanding, because we never know what kind of home life that the person with the poor demeanor may be coming from.
When that person lashes out at you, it can be that he is really bent out of shape about the 10 or 15 things going on in his private world that have nothing to do with you and everything to do with his inability to adequately cope.
Struggle is not limited by gender. Let’s be on guard, friends. Let’s be ready to be God’s hands here in this hurting world.
Donald Lee pastors the Dallas-based Kingdom Living Christian Center, which has a presence via teleconference. To call for prayer, Mondays through Fridays, from 9 p.m. (Central) to 10 p.m.., dial (218) 862-4590, code 202515#. He also is an author, freelance writer and editor and ghostwriter. Lee can be reached also at [email protected] or (225) 773-2248.