So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Colossians 3:12-14 (The Message)
This week I’ve been very mindful of the devastation and brokenness caused to families and individuals during this time. It might not be directly related to Co-vid but I’m pretty sure that the environment and circumstances we find ourselves in are bringing out lots of ‘true’ feelings and honesty. It could be that with the many usual distractions out of reach and more time for building and restoring relationships, we find ourselves opening up and allowing ourselves to become more vulnerable than usual. In many ways this can be beneficial but, in others, it can sometimes cause pain, hurt and devastation. For some, it can be the final straw.
For some, the restrictions placed on ‘staying safe’ have actually caused them to be in places they would never normally choose to be and with people they might normally avoid. We’ve seen an increase over the lockdown period in women seeking refuge, children calling childline and NSPCC. In the UK, we read that police have recorded early signs of an increase in suicides and attempted suicides during lockdown. For some, these impacts will be life changing, a time of survival, and will come with a memory that will be etched in their minds for years to come. It is a sad but stark reality of the world and times we are living in.
It is so important that we take time to notice what’s going on around us; to take time to be vigilant and be aware of others. I remember reading a story once about a well-known preacher who had gone into a cafe one morning for a coffee. Whilst sitting drinking his coffee he noticed the waitress as she took orders and waited on tables. A customer she was serving was particularly rude to her, but she very gracefully served him and continued to get on with her work. The next time she came to check on the preacher to see if he needed a top-up of coffee, he started to chat with her and asked how she was. At his point, she broke down and explained that she was going through a really tough time. The fact that the preacher had taken the time to show an interest and offer some help and support really made a difference to her day, and possibly her life.
It is so easy to take people for granted or to not really pay attention or give any thought to others. In the Bible, John 4, we can read the story of Jesus and encounter he had with the Samaritan women at the well. Jesus was tired and sat down by the well to rest. Whilst he was resting, he noticed the Samaritan woman as she came to the well to draw water. He talked with her and asked if she would give him a drink. In the culture they were living in, it was not ‘the done thing’ for a Jew to speak with a Samaritan. But, Jesus noticed her. He could have ignored her but he knew that she was struggling with life and he talked with her. He offered to take away her thirst by introducing her to ‘living water’ so she would never have to draw water from the well again but have eternal life.
“If anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never thirst again and will be forever satisfied! For when you drink the water I give you it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life!”
John 4:13 (The Passion Translation)
Whenever God places someone on your heart or prompts you to notice something, I would urge you to act upon it. When we go about our daily business, let's always take time to consider others. They might just need someone to chat with or they might just need to know that someone thinks they are worth it. Let's show others the difference that Jesus makes in our lives by demonstrating that we really care and are willing to go above and beyond what they might expect. Let's introduce them to the 'Living Water'.