“HELPING THOSE WHO ARE HURTING”
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.  For even Christ pleased not himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me” (Romans 15:1-3).  
        There are many people in our local churches that are hurting today; they need someone to help them.  The pain that many are experiencing is not necessarily physical.  Many suffer pain brought on by emotional stress, loneliness, or by things we know little or nothing about.  Sometimes we can’t see the pain so we assume that it doesn’t exist.
        Every time you attend a church service you can be sure that you are in the presence of someone who is hurting in some way.  They may greet you with a smile, you may hear them join in the singing of a hymn, and you may even detect a difference in their disposition, but you are unaware that they are hurting.  This person may miss several weeks of church services, and yet you presume they have “gone out of town” or something has happened that has weakened their desire to come to church.  You are still inconsiderate and insensitive to the fact that they are hurting. . . in some way.
     Widows have the pain of continued loneliness day after day, night after night.  Oh, how they long for fellowship or for conversation with someone they consider a friend or a brother or sister from church.  Single parents experience the pain of emotional stress as they attempt to hold their family together.  I am sure they would welcome some encouraging words from a sympathetic brother or sister whom they respect and can relate to.  The pain experienced by one who is watching a loved one slowly pass away from them can be a pain that seems unbearable.   They need someone to show them, “I care.”  Just to reinforce their faith with a word of prayer or a warm hand could give them strength to face another day.  
     Perhaps a young person, a teen from a very dysfunctional family is hurting emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  The pain they experience could vary from day to day.  Just to see a smiling, friendly face approach their door and sit and talk with them is a medicine they will never get from drugs or alcohol.
    Our text says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”  Therein is the problem:  we seek to please ourselves while others around us are growing weaker as the days go by.  I am referring to those “who are strong” who are living only for themselves.  Evidently, it doesn’t matter to them that others are crying as long as they are comfortable.  Are these people really as “strong” as they profess or pretend?  Perhaps they are strong, but they certainly are not very spiritual.  We should be pleasing our neighbor in order to “build them up,” i.e. “edify.”  We should enter into the sphere of their infirmities and consider that “Were it not for the grace of God, that person might have been you.”                                                                                                                                Pastor H. Preston Parker