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Pointers along the way #116

Walking alongside to help
- Jacob Ninan

When we want to help someone, wouldn't it be good if we can get down to their level, walk along with them as their friend and pass on any help that we can give? Is that how it is usually done? I think many times 'help' is offered as from an expert, a great or powerful man, a donor, etc., to a needy one. Have you thought of how humiliating it can be to the one who receives it? Jesus warned about behaving like 'benefactors' (Lk.22:25).

It is not just about helping. Even in evangelism, if we approach people from a position of superiority - 'believers' talking down to 'unbelievers', 'children of God' to 'children of the devil', 'those who know' to 'those who are ignorant', etc. - do we think we are making it easy for the others to listen? Of course we are believers and children of God, and we know certain things that the others don't. But let us not forget the fact that if we are any different from the others it is by the grace of God and not because of us being any better or superior compared to the others (Ro.3:27).

When Jesus came to the earth to save us, it is important to note that He came as a Man (who was tempted in all points as we are) (He.4:15). Of course, He was God too, but He did not interact with people around Him as God, but as the Son of Man. In other words, He came by the side of people as 'one of them', even though He was in fact far superior. He was without sin, but He did not behave as a perfect Man trying to help sinful people. This was one reason people felt free to go to Him. They sensed that He would not look down on them or despise them, or even 'throw the book' at them.

When we talk to unbelievers who are 'walking in darkness', ignorant of God's ways and who are in bondages of various kinds, how do we come across? What do they smell about us? Superiority?

When we meet someone and we understand some of his difficulties, and we know the right Bible verses to share with him, do we wonder first if he would appreciate a preacher or a friend at this time? Many people are turned away, or put off, when they meet a 'preacher' - one who preaches at them. They wish, "If only I could find someone who would listen to me and take trouble to understand me!"

Let us say we meet someone who has problems in his marriage or in bringing up children. We know Bible verses that can help them, of course. We know what they should have done and what they shouldn't. But if, instead of being preachy, we can relate to them as fellow human beings who are also going through problems (whether they are exactly the same or not), and show our concern and compassion, we can 'win' their heart to be willing to listen to us. Perhaps our relationship may become strong in the course of time to the point where we can share Bible verses too.