This is in response to the video about an autistic boy's loneliness after being shunned/overlooked at school by classmates as told by his father.
Lack of compassion is an old lament. In 1988, Geroge H.W. Bush received his party's nomination for president and in his acceptance speech called for a "kinder, gentler nation" and proposed his "thousand points of light" idea. They were beautiful concepts calling us to be a more compassionate, serving people. And what happened next? He was viciously lampooned and ridiculed -- for years -- by his opposition in the media, academia, government and elsewhere. Nice. That was 31 years ago. And here we are still. Pleading for compassion.
The beast called Loneliness is an equal-opportunity tormentor. It doesn't care about your race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, education level, immigration status, income, health, fame, disability, or any other identity you may have.
It's super-easy to pull on heartstrings when the victim has an obvious disability or known challenge, especially kids, but hidden disabilities like depression, ADHD and others are in some ways worse than visible ones because the need for compassion isn't in-your-face obvious.
Everyone needs compassion sometimes. You never know what someone who seems "fine" is going through.
- Tthe "mean" teacher - who fought with her husband this morning and whose daughter is battling serious addiction at home.
- The distracted and "irresponsible" coworker - who is privately struggling with her mom's dimentia in another state.
- The businessman driving the leased BMW that cut you off - who is about to have his mortgage foreclosed due to unforeseen and prolonged unemployment.
- And the anxious, awkward young woman hiding behind her computer screen - whose life-long friends, who have seemingly limitless energy and passion for abstract causes such as saving the elephants or 'resisting', never (ever) think to text her because while they know she's got "some issues" they feel she just needs to speak up and try harder. So, not out of a mean spirit but more out of a sheer self-centeredness on their part, she becomes out of sight & out of mind.
All of these people can feel lonely, isolated and unloved. Prolonged loneliness is a really, really difficult problem to solve, especially as children grow to become young adults. If you think it's bad when they're little elementary or middle school kids, just wait until they're 20 years old.
So yeah, compassion... we need more. It costs so little and yet adds so much value.
I feel sad for the faithless and the doubters, I really do, because they have no one but themselves to rely on and that IS lonely and scary and can feel shallow and meaningless.
What I've discovered is that Jesus really does save. Turns out it's not just a cliché.
When you are fully in Christ, and he in you, you are never lonely even on your darkest days. He is your rescuer, your fortress, your companion.
Sure, he said we'd have troubles in this life (John 16:33) and that life won't always be fair or just (Matthew 5:45). But we know with complete certainty that we are fully loved, cared for, and uniquely and perfectly made for a purpose. We are not an accident; we have God's thumbprint right on our foreheads.
And we know that God's plans for us are good, even when we can't see it yet or it's not the path we wanted. We trust him and there's tremendous peace in that regardless of the present circumstances.
There's an old saying: Man plans, God laughs.
Not a sermon. Just sharing what I've seen work in me and my family and many others in recent years. People say miracles don't happen today -- not true. Like any good Father, God's always working for the benefit of those who love him, his children who come to him through Jesus Christ.
And I'm not talking about "religion," either. I really dislike that word. I'm talking about a personal relationship.
Relationship is what life is all about.
How do you build a relationship? With unconditional love.
How do you spell love? T-I-M-E.
What is love?
- Love waits.
- Love cares more for others than for self.
- Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
- Love doesn’t strut,
- Doesn’t have a swelled head,
- Doesn’t force itself on others,
- Isn’t always “me first,”
- Doesn’t fly off the handle,
- Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
- Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
- Takes pleasure in the truth,
- Puts up with anything,
- Trusts God always,
- Always looks for the best,
- Never looks back,
- Keeps going to the end, never gives up.
- Love never dies.*
Imagine how loneliness would evaporate right before our eyes if we all lived and loved like that to the best of our abilities! I pray this for all of us.
"Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”"
There's no shadow You won't light up,
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me.
There's no wall You won't kick down,
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me.
Oh the overwhelming,
reckless love of God.
From the song Reckless Love by Corey Asbury
* 1 Corinthians 13:4-8