4 Will evildoers never learn— those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the LORD?
5 There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.
6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.
Isaiah chapter 14, NIV84
Those with money many times prey upon the poor – check cashing charges, fees for “plastic” money and money orders, cash advance charges, ever rising rent when the costs to the owner stay the same, higher prices for those trapped in the inner city without transportation for the same goods that cost less in neighborhoods that have customers that can shop around, lack of the volume discounts the rich enjoy, higher interest rates for loans to those who have the least money to pay for it.
Satan’s kingdom (fear-based, selfishness-based and money-based) is founded on “what can I get out of you?” Jesus’ kingdom (love-based) is founded on “what can I give to you?”
I believe heaven’s economy will be the opposite of ours. We will dream of what we can do for others, ask Jesus for the resources to do it, work with those resources in His strength and give away what we make, our only payment is the joy we receive when we give joy to others.
What would happen if we stopped giving hand-outs that are barely enough to survive on, and we made helping the poor become self-sustaining the same priority President John F. Kennedy gave making the United States the first on the moon? What about asking those who are challenged what they thought we could do to help them? What if we stopped being prejudice and gave jobs to those who would otherwise end up in jail because they can’t find someone who will hire them for honest work?
What would happen if I actually went about tangibly demonstrating the actions of the love of Jesus instead of just singing about it in my church or car?
I invite you to discover how you and I can allow Jesus to lift our challenged brothers and sisters. I invite you to discover: The Open Table http://www.theopentable.org/
It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given.
During my “personal, private sufferings” I may not have wanted to read this. All the courage that I imagine I have when not suffering abandons me in the face of real suffering. All that I thought stood by me I realize can’t help me. Sometimes even Jesus seems as though he has left me.
I am alone. And I am afraid.
As I obey my best guess as to God’s will my soul aches and I search for God in my circumstance.
It is here that I decide that no one should have to go through what I am going through alone. If I only had someone to talk to I could bear it. I decide if I encounter anyone struggling as I am, I will help them.
And a dream is born.
My dream, forged in the late seventies and early eighties, when I had not yet decided to take meds regularly and I had yet to welcome Christ into my heart, is being lived out now 35 years later (with Jesus and with meds). As a Certified Peer Support Specialist I have the privilege to serve people dealing with mental illness every day. I am doing, as Whitley Phipps says, HPLP: Helping People Live their Potential. Or, as Jesus says, Loving others.
Am I a hero? Not even close. But I am privileged to serve the real Heroes; people who fight horrific battles in their mind and in their life every day and keep on fighting. Battling thoughts that no one should have to experience, making even the simplest daily tasks excruciatingly difficult.
Mental illness takes the most hospital beds in our country and receives the lowest per patient funding in our country of any disease. It is projected that half of our population will experience mental illness in their lifetime. If that is not you then it is most likely someone you love. And it is much cheaper to pay for treatment for all who need it than to pay the costs that untreated mental illness cause: personal, family and friend suffering; lost productivity; prison cells and hospital beds.
What can we do? Get treatment for yourself or your loved one, treat the mentally ill with the respect being a Hero deserves, and vote for funding of Mental Health in your area.
I am part of a team of people starting “HOPE” for Mental Health at Kentwood Community Church. We are part of Celebrate Recovery founded by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. This group of courageous people, who admit their imperfections and trust Jesus to deliver them, have been a catalyst to me being able to confess my sins to another trusted person (or small group). I read my Nobody’s Perfect post from August of 2013 tonight and realized I had promised to get back to you when I had put this into practice.
Much better late than never.
I had told Jesus my sins but telling another person with skin on freed me from most of the grip of satan in my life. No amount of prayer has freed me as much as telling my sin to another person. Sin loses power when exposed.
I have known for years that I was “supposed to” confess my sins to another. But I made excuses and told myself it really didn’t matter. I lost years of my life to satan’s influence simply because “I know more than God.”
God is not mocked. I reaped what I sowed.
But I have learned.