May the power of healing come upon your wounds! How do you feel today? Does anyone have a chronic illness? Have you struggled with a disease? I sincerely hope that the divine energy of healing brings restoration to any ailments in your body and get well, soon.
How is your state of mind? Numerous individuals are currently grappling with mental health challenges. If you happen to be among those facing such difficulties, I pray for the intervention of God’s healing power to touch and heal the afflicted areas.
It is undoubtedly crucial that our physical body and mind are healed. However, now, I would like to shift our focus to the broader aspect of our overall health, as perceived through a biblical lens. According to the Bible, spiritual health is attained by remaining steadfast in the truth. From this perspective, the significance of nurturing our spiritual well-being may surpass the mere care of our bodies and minds. Why? Because our spiritual well-being is related to our eternal life.
Let us examine our spiritual well-being today. Allow me to use myself as an example. While my body and mind may appear to be in good health, I must acknowledge that I am not entirely whole in the biblical sense. Within the realm of my thoughts, desires, intellect, and even in my behavioral patterns, there exists a place of spiritual ailment. It manifests as an attitude in my life that does not align with God’s intentions and desires for me.
One of the most dangerous aspects of this spiritual illness is that it can inflict harm upon us without our conscious awareness. It is in such moments that we are in desperate need of God’s grace. The Holy Spirit, as the spirit of truth, graciously enters our lives to help us. As written in John 16:8, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” God is truth, justice, mercy, and love. If we live away from God’s truth and love, our spirits will gradually wither and eventually become dead.
Nevertheless, even when we veer off course from God’s truth and righteousness, we can find solace in knowing that God does not abandon us. In times when our spiritual health falters, and the world around us reflects brokenness, the Holy Spirit undertakes a profound work within us. Like a skilled surgeon, the Spirit removes the infected and decaying parts of our being, replacing them with revitalized and wholesome cells. This transformative process is beautifully captured in John 16:8, where it is written, “When the Holy Spirit comes, he will convict the world of its sin.” Through this divine conviction, the Holy Spirit guides us toward repentance, restoration, and renewed spiritual well-being.
The sin that the Holy Spirit highlights amidst the brokenness of society is the pervasive indifference toward truth and love. When we display indifference towards the truth, we demonstrate a disregard for the inherent dignity of others and show disrespect towards God. It is crucial to know that truth encompasses the profound concept of mercy. The Scriptures repeatedly emphasize the importance of extending compassion, forgiveness, and kindness toward one another. As we seek to align ourselves with God’s truth, we are called to embody and practice mercy in our interactions with others.
Let us reflect upon the health of our society. Is our society characterized by justice and fairness? How does our society define and prioritize the value of fairness? Does it entail equal opportunities for all, or fair compensation based on the value of one’s work? Furthermore, are we accurately measuring the worth of different types of work?
What does God say about justice and fairness? What does justice mean? Devout Christians often acknowledge that their material possessions are entrusted to them by God. The Hebrew word for justice, “Tzedekah,” conveys the idea that acts of charity are not optional but rather a blessed obligation. Fairness extends beyond mere transactions or wealth distribution. It has a broader understanding of compassion, empathy, and responsibility towards one another.
Let me share my story. While I am cognizant that sharing is both a privilege and a blessed obligation, there are moments when my logical understanding clashes with my emotions. I have experienced discomfort and even confusion when it comes to sharing. But thankfully, the Holy Spirit has been my guiding light and source of assistance.
Last Friday, as I was finishing my grocery shopping, I encountered a Middle Eastern woman who was holding her young son, approximately a year old, and appeared to need assistance. Moved by compassion, I offered my help to her. Through our interaction, I discovered that she had two more children in addition to the newborn, and unfortunately, one of them was disabled. She faced the arduous task of providing for her family without the support of a husband. Each day, she persevered, sustaining their lives with the meager provisions provided by kind-hearted individuals coming out of the store.
As I finished my grocery shopping, when I found her at the entrance of the grocery, I asked her, “Do you need food?” I didn’t know what kind of food she needed. I said to her: “If there is food you want, choose it yourself. Then I will pay for them.” Then she happily got up and went into the Grocery with her son, and she picked up a shopping basket. I was honestly surprised. Because then I knew she only had one child. My intention was that I would give her a choice of one or two pre-cooked meals. Her unexpected action made me surprised. In realizing my surprise, she kindly explained, “I have two more children who haven’t eaten all day.” “Yes, please pick as you need,” I replied with a smile.
As she began filling her basket with various food items, I felt a rush of mixed emotions. There was a fleeting thought of concern, pondering whether she was filling the cart beyond what was necessary. However, I quickly reminded myself of God’s Word, which guided my actions and thoughts. I internally affirmed, “I am serving Jesus in this moment. Let me embrace generosity and maintain my joy.” She carefully selected three or four different vegetables, whole chicken meat, several fresh fish, drinks, and snacks for her children, placing them in her shopping cart. As I witnessed her filled cart, my heart swelled with a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to assist her and her family in their time of need.
But my joy was short-lived, and when she came out after shopping, she asked me for $200. Language barriers made it challenging to fully grasp her situation, but it seemed she was expressing an urgent need to pay her rent by the following day, fearing eviction. I attempted to navigate this situation by explaining that I did not have any cash on hand. To my surprise, she informed me that there was an ATM nearby, suggesting I withdraw the funds from there. Sincerely, I shared with her, “Your situation is incredibly unfortunate, but I have already provided all the financial assistance I am able to offer.” In that moment, my mind raced with various thoughts and questions. I wondered how she could rent a room with no income. Should I direct her to a shelter for further support? I could ask her several questions to assist her and to get out of my curiosity, but these questions remained unspoken as I simply desired to escape from the pressurized situation, sensing her desperation for the $200. With a mix of emotions, I conveyed to her, “I apologize, but the assistance I provided earlier is the extent of my capacity to help you today.” In response, she expressed a gracious and heartfelt thank you, and we parted ways.
As I reflected on the encounter, I grappled with conflicting thoughts. Should I have given her the requested $200? Could my good intentions be misused? Was her plea genuine or made up? Uncertainty filled my mind regarding the best course of action. Yet, in that moment, the Holy Spirit reminded me to be grateful for the assistance I provided within my means. This perspective brought gratitude back again. While my choices may not have been perfect, the Holy Spirit helped me maintain a steadfast mindset, recognizing that the wealth I shared was entrusted to me temporarily by God. With this realization, joy surged within me. Through this experience, I learned the importance of intention and a compassionate heart in extending help, beyond the outcome or effectiveness of my actions.
It is true that we and our societies are imperfect. But our Holy Spirit is by our side with a very powerful help closer than we think. Let’s take a moment to show our painful condition honestly to the Holy Spirit this week. He will surely help us become spiritually healthy again. He will guide us to the truth. May you all be well in God’s truth, mercy, and love!
7th Sunday after Pentecost, July 16th, John 16:13
Pastor John Kim, Lakeridge Lutheran Church