1 ”The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.
We are not all the same and even if we were nearly identical at one point in time, we change at different rates and differences are apparent. This can be more pronounced if one of the objects compared is damaged.
This is what happened to humanity when Lucifer brought temptation and ultimately damage to God’s creatures, mankind. A damaged object cannot perform to the level it could when whole, so damage is tragic. Some damage, it seems, just cannot be fixed. We cannot be used as efficiently by The Holy Spirit as long as we remain “damaged”.
The Good News is that God has a plan for us, i.e. to make us whole. So if God has a plan, why does he need me? It is because we are important parts in the plan to bring others into wholeness. In the passage above, the full meaning of the “Good News” is revealed. If we only present part of it, i.e. salvation, as excellent as that might be, it is only part of the story.
Jesus quoted from this passage in Isaiah when He read in the temple and said “This day is this fulfilled…” He was saying that the “Good news” impacted some things in our everyday life, not just eternal life. There is now hope for captives, downtrodden, captives, all the marginables in our world, for Jesus has come to give them deliverance. I believe that this work is passed along to us in The Great Commission, i.e. to do Christ’s work after He is gone. In this way, we truly bear one another’s burdens.
So how can we help heal the damaged?
Some were born damaged– It’s a fact that some are born less than equally endowed, be it intelligence, physical attributes, mental acuity, etc. For too long, the advantaged have lorded it over the less fortunate and used it as a weapon to keep their advantaged perch over others. Jesus says that we should give them beauty for ashes, lift them up, carry their heavy load. In this way, we make their burden lighter and bring hope to their world.
Some were damaged by others– It is a sad fact that violence has a large part in our world. Man’s inhumanity to man is a common theme in our daily living. These are really tragic souls, because they remember what it was like to not be damaged. They can be tormented by what might have been! But Jesus says, never mind, I have come to restore those captive to evil deeds and deliverance is at hand. Then He appoints us to bear their burden for them, as He bore that great burden of sin for us. He gives us strength through the Holy Spirit to accomplish this, because without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). It also stands to reason that if we are damaging others, we need to stop! In those cases, we are fighting against God, who is their mighty savior.
Some choose to be damaged or damaged themselves– There are many ways we can inflict damage on ourselves, usually unintentionally. But does that mean God will not forgive our sinful acts and heal us? Does the notion of self-inflicted damage mean that we are excused from helping bear the burden ? I think not, but these are the people that Jesus came to deliver: downtrodden, hopeless, mourners, those with heavy spirits, all sorts of dysfunctional people, born that way, made that way by self or others, it makes no difference. Jesus has “Good News” for you. And it does not start and stop with a promise of a better life in the hereafter. It is contemporary…and you can have it now.
We have not always done a good job of seeking out the marginal and giving them a helping hand. We must do a better job of loving one another and caring for one another. We have all been selfish.
We all need to seek God when we feel damaged or dysfunctional. Furthermore, let us not judge one another, but rather help one another with their burdens. “Do this unto the least of these.” The abundance of our God assures that there will be enough for everyone, so we need not fret about giving to others.
My Prayer for you today is:
God, help me to be more aware of the needs of others and to be attentive to them. Thank you for doing the same for us, now help us to be faithful to others and to your will. Amen!