BACK WHEN I WAS A KID I got a bellyache that wouldn't go away. It hurt so bad I couldn't stand up straight. Or sit down without increasing the pain. Finally, my folks hauled me over to a big house in West Houston where a doctor lived. He had turned the back section into his office and clinic. It was a hot, muggy afternoon. I was scared.
The doc decided I needed a quick exam—but he really felt I was suffering from an attack of appendicitis. Looking back, however, I really believe that "quick exam" hurt worse than surgery the next day. The guy was rough, I mean really rough. He poked and thumped and pulled and pushed at me like I was Raggedy Andy. I was already in pain, but when ole Dr. Vice Grip was through, I felt like I had been his personal punching bag.
Looking back all those years, I've learned a valuable lesson: when people are hurting, they need more than an accurate analysis and specific diagnosis. More than professional advice. More, much more, than a stern, firm turn of a verbal wrench that cinches everything down tight.
Attorneys, doctors, counselors, physical therapists, dentists, fellow ministers, nurses, teachers, mentors, and parents, hear ye, hear ye! Fragile and delicate are the feelings of most who seek our help.
Would it help if you could see that someone like Paul embraced the value of tenderness? He did.
Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.
We ought to move toward and respond to people in need with tenderness and mercy, not judgment and annoyance. Some day we shall all at one time or another be on the receiving end.
Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at tyndale.com.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.