In every village, in every town and in every city we see if we choose to see it such levels of poverty, homelessness and hunger that we may not have seen in years gone by. Many people sadly to say are indifferent to the sufferings of others.
Indeed they are like the priestly class and the levitical class who who saw the injured man and chose to walk by on the other side. Some people rush to judgement and make rash pronouncements about those in society who are suffering the most without stopping to think what has caused this person to be in such a situation and even then due to their own prejudicial attitudes find a reason to denigrate the person who is suffering.
John Wesley in his sermon that he presented in Aberdeen in 1789 alluded to this fact when he preached on visiting the sick. In his sermon he said these words and I think it is important for me to repeat them because they are powerful words and they are quite an indictment on those who are on the the highest rungs of life’s ladder.
“One great reason why the rich in general have so little sympathy for the poor is because they seldom visit them. Hence it is that, according to the common observation one part of the world does not know what the other sufferers”
Indeed I might go further to say that one half of the village does not know what the other half suffers or one half of the city does not know what the other half of the city suffers, do any of us know in truth what out brothers and sisters suffer when we are so consumed in our own little world’s that we are often blind to the suffering around us.
John Wesley continued by saying” many of them do not know no because they care not to know, they keep out of the way of knowing it- and then plead their voluntary ignorance as an excuse for their hardness of the heart. “Indeed sir (said a man of large stature), ‘I am a very compassionate man but to tell you the truth I don’t know of anybody in the world that is in want.’ how did this come to pass’ why, he took great care to keep out of their way and if he fell upon any of them unaware he passed by on the other side”
You may think well what relevance are these words spoken in 1789 to the current situation that we see today )if we choose to see it). My dear brothers and sisters these words spoken in 1789 have a profound relevance to what we see in today’s society. So many people blinded by their own prejudicial attitudes that they do not see the sufferings of others and neither do they care.
I tell you the truth that those who look down on their brothers and sisters in need without even attempting to pick them up a fiery furnace awaits. My friends wherever you are and whoever you are and whatever your situation in life always remember there are some of our brothers and sisters who for want or circumstance are not as fortunate as you.
Should we see one of our neighbours in need do we ask ourselves what nationality is our neighbour before we consider stretching out the hand of affection because I tell you there are people so corrupted by their own prejudicial attitudes who will ask that question the first before considering intervening to help.
Brothers and sisters we are commanded by God to be colour blind, a person’s race, a person’s colour , a person’s faith should not be the determining factor on whether we stretch out the hand of affection, the hand of love to alleviate or try to alleviate the suffering of our neighbour we do it it because that is our duty.
Christ embraced us in that act of love, that act of love so borne out on the Cross at Calvary is it a great ask therefore for us to embrace others some of whom are in the greatest need some of whom who are the most vulnerable, some of whom who live in precarious situations. Is it so difficult to put away our own prejudices to set them aside and to be like Christ not only in his words but in his actions also.
And wherever you are, whoever you are and whatever your situation may almighty God bestow his most manifold blessings upon you all.