Insensitivity & Neglect Toward The Lonely, Aged, Needy, Or Hurting

September 7, 2013

It is heartbreaking to listen to my precious elderly friends at the nursing home lament that no one visits them and that they feel discarded by the world. This last week I felt worse than ever, for one friend in particular was feeling extremely low, neglected, and was in chronic pain. I often sit on her bed next to her and gently rub her back, listen to her, pray with her, or even sing a few hymns with her, but this time the misery of her situation seemed to threaten hopelessness even for me.

If only healthy, able-bodied people would realize how healing it can be for them to just go and visit some lonely shut-ins. It can be healing for them as they find joy in extending kindness to others, but certainly it can be healing for the person who lives alone or neglected. Receiving attention is something everybody needs, and being able to look forward to it could cure someone’s soul and even their body. Don’t aches and pains seem to lessen substantially when engaged in a good conversation or other enjoyment? Then why can’t more people, especially those who say they are Christians (representatives of Christ), recognize this need and step up to the plate?

Truly, “Christians” who do not spend a percentage of their time loving/serving “the least of these” (Mt. 25:40) somewhere, somehow, should be suspect concerning the genuineness of their Christianity. For what does Jesus say concerning those who neglect to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give hospitality to strangers, or pay attention to those who are sick or in prison? (v. 42,43) He says, “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” (v. 45) And because of this sin of theirs, Jesus declares that these negligent people will be sent to eternal punishment. (v. 41,46) Does this seem harsh? If anyone thinks so, he is not thinking like Christ thinks. He is not thinking considerately of his fellowman in need.

Everyone who claims to love and follow Christ must be active in some kind of volunteer ministry unto others. We all can’t do all of the above all of the time, but we must be doing one of those ministries. Some people are feeding and housing travelers every week, others lead a weekly Bible study at a prison. Others hang out at streets where homeless can be found, befriend them, give them food or blankets, and share the Gospel with them. Others go on errands for those who can’t drive.

But, considering that visiting at a nursing home can be a huge encouragement to many elderly people, yet is a ministry that requires no exceptional skill, it is a wonder that more people don’t do it. All it takes is to ask for the activities coordinator, sign up as a volunteer, and then go. Once there, all one really needs to do is to sit next to someone, listen to them tell stories of when they were young, listen as they tell their present woes, and then just give some encouraging words and/or prayer and/or Bible reading while extending smiles and cheer. It’s not hard. And yet it is enormously needed.

But not only needed, ministry unto others is a requirement for the Christian. Jesus made this very clear.

with love,

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