Bible Society of South Africa

Are you emphatically empathetic? – 11 December 2020

By Hennie Symington

Bible text(s)

42I was hungry but you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not give me a drink; 43I was a stranger but you would not welcome me in your homes, naked but you would not clothe me; I was sick and in prison but you would not take care of me.’

Matthew 25:42-43GNBOpen in Bible reader

The past year has not been a good year for the world all round. The challenge to believers is simply growing by the day. At this time of Advent leading up to Christmas, what is our response to the world where the needs of those who have nothing and nowhere to go simply seem overwhelming. Perhaps the following contemplation will challenge us to a moment of silence thinking about the desperate plight of people suffering all over the world:

I was hungry
and you started a human rights group to discuss itI
I was in prison
and you prayed secretly for my release.
I was naked
and in your mind you wondered If I was appropriately dressed for church.
I was ill
and you thanked God on your knees for your good health.
I was lonely
and you left me on my own to pray for me.
But I’m still very hungry – and lonely and cold. (Anonymous)

Attending to the oppressed and the broken hearted, captives and prisoners is an essential part of preparing for the coming of God. The moment we forget that all people are created in the image of God, we forget about the person in need. But if we love our neighbour, we cannot but be concerned about him or her. In the Christian faith people matter. Every person has an inalienable worth as a person. Man, woman and child are all created in the image of the Creator. If you believe this, think about how this becomes evident in your life as a Christian.

Prayer: Lord, I confess that at times I am just simply overwhelmed by the needs of humanity. Yet you require from us to love the poor, the sick and the lonely. Please teach me how to care as you care for all. Amen

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