Summary: If we are going to be a church or a Christian that pleases God we are going to have to be people who care for the hurting.
This psalm is a prayer, the substance of which David offered up to God when he was forced by Saul to take shelter in a cave. He was disowned and deserted by his friends. David was in the ditch of despair and in v.4, he expressed how he felt at this point in his life when he said, "No man cared for my soul?" The Psalmist, David, had come to the point that he wondered if anyone really cared about him! Have you ever been in the dark, deep cave of despair? Have you ever been in a situation in which things just looked completely hopeless? And you looked around to others for help and concern, and then found out that they were completely indifferent and apathetic to your problem? Have you ever cried, "Doesn’t anyone care what happens to me, or what happens in my life?" We are living in a generation of hurting people who want to know that someone cares truly about them. To care means "to have thought or regard toward another, or to feel concern about!" If we are going to be a church or a Christian that pleases God we are going to have to be people who care for the hurting.
I. Do we see and understand the needs of others? We say that we have a love for God, for our fellow believers and for the lost: but do we really love them?
A. Romans 12:9 "Let love be without dissimulation." "Let love be genuine."
B. There is a story of a hassidic rabbi, renowned for his piety. He was unexpectedly confronted one day by one of his devoted youthful disciples. In a burst of feeling, the young disciple exclaimed, "My master, I love you!" The ancient teacher looked up from his books as asked his fervent disciple, "Do you know what hurts me, my son?" The young man was puzzled. Composing himself, he stuttered, "I don’t understand your question, Rabbi. I am trying to tell you how much you mean to me, and you confuse me with irrelevant questions". "My question is neither confusing nor irrelevant," retorted the rabbi. "For if you do not know what hurts me, how can you truly love me?"
C. Do we see those who are hurting physically?
1. Are we aware of those who within our sphere are in constant physical pain? People who have debilitating illnesses or conditions (cancer, heart problems, diabetes, etc.)?
2. Are we aware of those who because of physical limitations cannot do the things that you and I can? (i.e. the shut-in who cannot attend church, shop at the store, work around their own home)
3. Consider the plight of the paraplegic man that Christ encountered at the pool of Bethesda in John 5. "The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steps down before me." (John 5:7)
4. Are we aware of those who are alienated from the mainstream of society having diseases that socially and/or morally unacceptable? There are 65 million Americans with STD’s.
D. Do we see those who are hurting mentally?
1. Statistics state that one in four Americans face some form of psychological or mental challenge.
2. Are we aware of the special needs of these special individuals? (The need to be accepted, to be patiently borne with, to have the opportunity to use what talents they do have)
3. Are we aware of those who have mental/ physical addictions?
a. Drug and alcohol abuse is a serious problem in society and affects all--rich and poor; young-old; educated and uneducated; and the Christian and non-Christian.
b. There are 3.3 million problem drinkers in America’s high schools alone. - CNN 12/29/82
E. Do we see those who are hurting emotionally?
1. What about the hurt in the home?
a. "Look at the condition of marriage within the context of today’s Christian homes and churches. The staggeringly high divorce rate is almost the same among believers as among unbelievers."
b. More children are being raised today in single parent households than those having both parents in the home.
c. Six out of ten couples will experience some form of violence in their marriage.
d. In the U.S. there is a woman battered every nine seconds. (more than 400 during this service)
e. There are more than one million cases of child abuse in America every year.
2. What about the lonely?
a. My soul is a dark ploughed field
In the cold rain;
My soul is a broken field
Ploughed by pain. - Sara Teasdale (1884-1933).
b. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910- ) - Loneliness and the feeling of being uncared for and unwanted are the greatest poverty.