Relating to People
Can You Relate?
We are in the middle of the third quarter (Relate) of the five stages of our NPUC Mission Initiative: Vision 2020. During the first quarter, many aligned with the Renew stage by praying for personal and collective spiritual renewal and joining the NPUC’s phone reading and re-reading of Helmut Haubeil’s book, Steps to Personal Revival: Being Filled With the Holy Spirit. Many individuals around our union experienced a Holy Spirit call to acknowledge our self-deception and self-focus, which led to the confession of the insidious nature of our carnal nature. We were led to pray for a growing yearning for an authentic personal spiritual revival that would lead to our living out our everyday lives in a manner that would reflect we were grafted into the heart of Jesus … who experiences profound love, incomprehensible compassion and extravagant mercy for broken, hurting people.
How Can I Relate to Broken People?
Our dark chapter on Planet Earth opens with a devious partial lie hissed by a talking serpent. As we all know, Adam and Eve did not drop dead that day. However, they did experience the instant death of harmonious, intimately connected relationships with their Creator and with each other, along with the accompanying birth of soul-destroying shame, blame, relational disharmony and disconnection. Six thousand years later, the undeniable, progressive decline in the quality, quantity and emotional depth of our vertical and horizonal relationships is clear. Despite our numerous social media “connections,” a growing number of people are experiencing life as increasingly lonely, burdensome, painful, meaningless and even agonizing.
Did you know suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people 10 to 34 years of age, the fourth-leading cause among people 35 to 54 years of age and the eighth-leading cause among people 55 to 64 years of age? Many people who attempt suicide do so because they perceive life is not going to change, things are going to get worse and their problems will only get more complicated. Individuals of all ages are being deceived into believing death through suicide is the only way to escape the physical and/or emotional agony they fear will never come to an end.
Though all states are reporting an increasing rate of suicide in all ages, Oregon's rate of increase is one of the highest, an increase of 28.2% from 1999 to 2016, compared with 24% nationwide.
How Can I Connect?
The emotional and spiritual and relational brokenness people are experiencing today is complicated, perplexing and deeply tragic. Praise God we serve a Savior whose compassion knows no limits, who deeply longs to love, heal and save broken people.
“Often He met those who had drafted under Satan’s control, and who had no power to break from his snare. To such a one, discouraged, sick, tempted, fallen, Jesus would speak words of tenderest pity, words that were needed and could be understood. Others He met who were fighting a hand-to-hand battle with the adversary of souls. These He encouraged to persevere, assuring them that they would win; for angels of God were on their side, and would give them the victory.” (Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, p. 26). Now this is good news!
We invite you to pray for Jesus’ eyes, heart and hands. There is probably someone who is lonely and hurting in your circle of influence who desperately needs to know there is a loving, caring, involved heavenly Father who really cares about them so much that He is deploying you to minister to them through your love, care, concern and genuine friendship.