Often people with problems are made to feel sub-Christian. We view them as an inconvenience because they require more time than we want to give.
Talking with them about anything other than the weather might get us entangled in their struggles, so we pass a few pleasantries and quickly find our seats. We rush out after the sermon, more concerned with the football game on television than the person next to us in the pew whose life is shattered.
How can we say, "I love God" when our interaction with the needy is governed by such self-serving, don't-disrupt-my-routine snobbery?
Have we deceived ourselves about the love of God? "Dear friends," pleads John, "since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:11, NIV).
So, how does one actually love another? Ask yourself: "Am I the sort of Christian with whom someone would feel comfortable sharing? Or am I intimidating?
"Does my demeanor say, 'Yes, I want to help; Yes, I care?' Or do I communicate, 'Stay away; you're a disgrace?'"
Then ask God to make you a minister of His compassion and acceptance. Allow Him to use your life to heal the brokenhearted.
Sam Storms is an author, blogger and pastor of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, OK.