I found this draft that I had written on 1/9/2009.
As I sit here and write, I'm looking out the window and the sky is gray, the trees are without leaves, there's a slight breeze that makes the limbs on the trees and bushes move slightly. From all appearances while sitting here in my house it looks like it could snow at any minute. But when I walk outdoors onto my porch, it's a warm beautiful day. It's 65 degrees outside right now... but from the inside of the house it looks like it's freezing outside and ready to snow.
This reminds me that not everyone is as they appear either. From where we stand it may appear that someone has everything going their way. From our vantage point... it seems their world is great. But in reality, their world may be falling apart. Most of us are very good at disguising what's really going on in our lives. We do this because when you think about it... the last thing you want to do when your life is a mess is talk about it with others. Sometimes were embarrassed or too hurt or ashamed to discuss it with anyone. So to avoid this pain... we hide. Just like the weather outside that had me fooled today, so it is with the people in our lives that are going through tough times. Not everything is at it appears.
Everyone is going through something. A death and loss of a loved one, a serious illness or injury or other health issues, a time without income from a loss of a job, maybe they're going through a divorce or break up, an addiction of some kind and the consequences of that, dealing with legal issues, the point is we don't know what's happening in the lives of those around us. But the chances are... from where we stand, things appear better than they are because people are good at covering up their problems. So what's all this mean to us?
Be ready to listen, to try and understand things from their perspective. Assume that everything is not as it seems and be a support rather than a judge for their problems. Keep in mind that they already feel bad about their situation and our role needs to be one of support and encouragement. We can pray for them and just be there for them, without putting our shallow two cents worth in the mix of things. Every time someone asks me for my advice I wonder... who am I to give advice... Have you taken a look at my life lately? Or maybe I've done a good job of covering up my problems so that things appear different than they really are. The truth is... we all are suffering in some way, and we all need help. I praise God that he loves me no matter what I do, no matter the circumstances I've gotten myself into... God always loves me! God's love is the only love that is unconditional. How can we help others? How can we be an encouragement to others? Share the love of God with them. God is the only one that truly knows what they are going through. He is the only one that you can not hide from. He is the only way to find peace when your life is a mess. Sometimes people can't see God's love, unless they see it through you.
May you be filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to share the love of God with others when the time is needed. Don't assume that just because things appear to be good, that they are. God may be using you to reach out to someone He wants to help.
(10) Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
(11) Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
(12) Rejoice in confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
(13) When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.