Hey, my friends. Welcome back to Let’s Encourage One Another.
We have made it to the last day of our 5-day Courageous Care Challenge. During this challenge, we are looking at the top five obstacles and objections we have when it comes to reaching out to those around us who are hurting.
I’m curious… which one has hit home most with you so far?
Day one: uncertain. “I don’t know what to say.” “I don’t know what to do.”
Day two: unavailable. “I don’t have the time.”
Day three: unfamiliar. “I don’t know anything about what my friend is going through.”
Day four: uncomfortable: “It’s hard to watch my friend struggle.”
I know I have thought all of these during different situations in my life. They are all things I have experienced and had to work through.
What about you? Which one hits home the most? And are you starting to take action with that one? Are you moving toward breaking through the fear and reaching out anyway?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to repent. I’ve had to ask God to help me with these things. To break through the fear. To trust that He is with me—because He is. And I know that God doesn’t give me a spirit of fear. That’s the enemy. I have to take a stand against him. I have to hold on tight to God.
And what is amazing to me is how many times throughout Scripture where we are told, “Do not fear. Be courageous, because God is with you.” God is with you, my friend. You can find your courage in Him.
It’s like when you have to go to the doctor’s office or hospital or somewhere you don’t want to go, but you get to bring a friend, and that gives you more peace, more courage. You have God with you everywhere you go. He is there to guide you. He is there to strengthen you. He is there to give you wisdom and discernment. He is there to comfort you.
Let His presence give you the courage you need to care for those around you who are hurting.
As we wrap up our Courageous Care Challenge, we are talking about the most difficult obstacle yet. Are you ready? God, help us to have a soft heart so that we can hear the word You have for us here.
The fifth obstacle to reaching out to others who are hurting is that we are unwilling. In other words, “I don’t want to help.”
Now, today, we are not talking about boundaries and priorities and when we should step in and when we should not. We don’t have time for that in today’s episode.
What this obstacle is all about is that we very clearly sensed God calling us to do something… to reach out in some way… and we don’t want to.
We resist. We dig in our heels.
In fact, it reminds me a lot of Jonah.
Jonah—who had a very clear calling from God to go and preach to the Ninevites, inviting them to change their ways and repent—and yet he runs in the opposite direction.
The Ninevites, who were evil and corrupt and violent.
Jonah didn’t want to give them a chance to repent. He didn’t want them to experience God’s grace and mercy. He saw their evil behavior and passed judgment on them and wanted to leave them to be destroyed.
And yet… God called Jonah to go and give them a chance to repent.
And after he finally does so, after he prophecies to those in Nineveh, he sits on a hill nearby and waits for the city to be destroyed. That is how hard his heart has grown.
And he complains to God, “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people” (Jonah 4:2 NLT).
Did you catch that? Jonah knew that God was merciful and compassionate. And God called him to show compassion to the Ninevites by giving them a chance to repent before they were destroyed.
And Jonah just didn’t want to. He was unwilling.
Is there a situation where God is calling you to show compassion where you just don’t want to? You don’t want to extend a hand in welcome. You don’t want to forgive. You don’t want to give up your time and money to help them. You don’t want to go visit them in the hospital. You don’t want to make time to go to the nursing home.
You just. Don’t. Want. To.
And so you don’t.
And what happens here is that not your friend who needs your compassion isn’t getting it from you… but you are running away from God. You are ignoring God. That’s exactly what the Pharisees did and Jesus called them on it. He said, “You are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God” (Luke 11:42 NLT).
John calls us on it, too. In 1 John 3:17-18 (NLT), he writes: “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
Do we really love each other? We can’t just say it. We actually have to do something about it. We have to show it.
I love the story of Jonah because it’s so relatable. And, think about it… Jonah himself is the only one who could have told us this story in all of its detail. And he doesn’t end with some “happily ever after, they all repented and it’s all good” ending. He ends with him pouting on the hillside waiting for the city to be destroyed.
And I wonder… where is your story going to end? Are you going to be like Jonah, running the opposite way and refusing to reach out? Or are you going to trust God and do what He’s asking you to do?
This is such a tough obstacle. It’s not just a matter of clearing out more space in our schedule or learning more about what our friend is going through. It’s a heart issue. It’s about letting God change us. And not all of us are ready for that yet, to be honest. And that’s okay. But let’s start by asking some questions.
If this is you, if there is something getting in the way of your being willing to reach out, this is what I want you to do: I want you to ask God to show you what it is.
What is causing this unwillingness inside of you?
Is it because you don’t agree with the person’s choices?
Is it because you’ve tried to help before and gotten burned by it?
Or maybe you’ve helped before and the person is right back where they started; your help didn’t seem to help at all.
Is it because you’ve been through something similar and no one helped you through it?
Are you angry and upset about some other circumstance and you’re letting it impact how you see this situation?
What is causing this unwillingness inside of you?
Take some time to sit with that question.
And when you’re ready, repent. Repent. Ask God to help you change. You could say something like this:
God, I know that there have been times, there might even be times right now, when I just don’t want to reach out to someone who is hurting. I know You’ve called me to. I know You’re inviting me to. And I just don’t want to do it. There’s something inside me that is resisting. And so I ask that You help me with this, God. Show me what is getting in the way, and then give me a new heart. Replace my stubborn heart with a tender, compassionate one. A merciful one. Just like Yours.
Luke 6:36 (NLT) says, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”
God, give us the courage to be compassionate. To care.
You guys, the Courageous Care Challenge ends here, but let me tell you, this isn’t over.
I want you to imagine this with me…
Imagine getting “that” phone call from a friend and knowing exactly what you can do to comfort her and care for her during her season of grief.
Imagine curling up in God’s presence and letting Him be the one to guide you in how and when to reach out.
Imagine having the support you need so your friend can have the care she needs.
This does not end here. If this Challenge has really connected with you and you want to learn more, please come join me in the Courageous Care Masterclass. It will be such a powerful time of learning how God has designed you, specifically, to comfort and care for others. And how to do so in a way that is healthy and honoring to Him.
It will be a small class. Just a few of us there so we can talk freely and confidentially.
And you guys, I am offering this to you for free. Get the waitlist now by going to lovedoesthat.org/care.
It is entirely possible to overcome this fear we have of reaching out, these obstacles that stop us dead in our tracks, and instead, reach out with both courage and compassion. Learn how in the Masterclass.
Thank you so, so much for joining me for the Courageous Care Challenge. If you have found this challenge helpful, would you share it with a friend? We all have to be in this together, right? You caring for those in your neighborhood and me caring for those in mine? Let’s all find one person we can reach out to so they know they are not alone in their hurt and grief.
Until next time…
- “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.” (Jonah 4:2 NLT)
- “You are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God.” (Luke 11:42 NLT)
- “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:17-18 NLT)
- “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36 NLT)
- Episode 19: [Courageous Care Challenge] Day One: Uncertain
- Episode 20: [Courageous Care Challenge] Day Two: Unavailable
- Episode 21: [Courageous Care Challenge] Day Three: Unfamiliar
- Episode 22: [Courageous Care Challenge] Day Four: Uncomfortable