“I sat where they sat.” Eze 3:15
In an attempt to insulate ourselves against the evils in the world, we can isolate ourselves from those God’s called us to reach out to. At the beginning of Ezekiel’s ministry he wrote, “The hand of the Lord was strong upon me. Then I came to the captives…and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days” (vv. 14-15 NKJV). True ministry begins with sitting in the other person’s seat. Former President Jimmy Carter was a Sunday school teacher in his church. Recalling it in an interview, he said: “Most church members—including me—rarely reach outside to people who are different from us or less fortunate. Quite often my Sunday school class will say, ‘Why don’t we take up a collection and give a nice Thanksgiving meal to a poor family?’ The next question is: ‘Who knows a poor family?’ Nobody does! We have to call the Welfare Office to get the name and address.” So, do you know any needy people? Compassion is putting yourself in the other person’s place. It’s asking God to help you understand what’s really going on with them. It’s hearing what they’re not saying as well as what they are. It’s understanding that sometimes their anger is only masking their fear, that they’re crying out for help in the only way they know how. Before Peter denied the Lord, Jesus said to him, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Lk 22:32). When God’s grace touches your life you will always reach back for others! And here’s why: people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.