I suspect everyone has times in their life when they feel like David when he said, he looked to the right and then to the left and there was no one there to help. His conclusion was “No one cared for my soul.” One of the most heart rending sights in the world is to see a person who actually has no one to love and care for them any more. Sometimes it is the elderly person whose family has moved on to enjoy their life and have left them to take care of themselves long past the time when they were able to do so. Sometimes it is a child who has been abandoned or whose parents have died leaving them with no one to care for their needs. When families commit themselves to take a child into their homes and treat them with love and respect when they have no family relationship they are demonstrating the very heart of Christian living. James said, “Pure and undefiled religion is this, to visit the orphans and widows in their afflictions and keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Talk to anyone who works with children who come into the custody of the state because of poor treatment by parents or other family members. Children come in with burns all over their body administered by the very parents that are supposed to care for them. Sometimes they are there because they have been abandoned. Sometimes they have been imprisoned in their own home.
What happens in a persons life that would cause them to harm the very ones they should be taking care of? It always leaves me shocked and puzzled when I see an elderly parent or grandparent who has been abused by their own child or grandchild. It is beyond my comprehension when I see a child that has been abused, sexually, physically and mentally by the very parent that God gave the responsibility to bring them up in his training and discipline. I know that sometimes the cause is mental illness on the part of the one doing the abusing. I also know that many times the person doing the abusing is addicted to some drug or drugs that causes one to lose all sense of conscience or care for anyone. Their passion becomes only when they can get the next drug to have the next high. Sometimes the tragedies of life and the uncommon pressures they face lead them to do things they would never have imagined doing when things were going better in their life. It can be abject poverty so that the adult struggles to find the means of feeding themselves to stay alive much less enough to care for a child or aging parent. Their circumstances overwhelm them until there actions become irrational.
When it is a child or an elderly person who is suffering at the hands of another it is easy for us to feel deep compassion for the abused and want to step in to give the compassion and love that is needed. It is also easy to feel disgust leading to hatred for the one doing the abusing. But in many cases the abuser is reenacting the same abuse they suffered earlier in their own life. In such cases our disgust should turn to care, compassion and concern so that they might have the opportunity to change from the disgusting life of abuser to one who is changed, forgiven and given a fresh start.
Over and over again in talking with people who have lost their sense of care for others, even the ones who depend on them for protection, I’ve seen in them the deep feeling that no one in the world cares what happens to them. In some twisted way it often seems that the abuse they are doing is in an effort to get someone to take an interest in them. It is a lot like the child who will misbehave to get the attention of the adults around them. Even attention that leads to punishment is preferred over being ignored. This child in a school room will misbehave over and over again in an effort to get the attention of the teacher. They never seem to realize that getting this kind of attention will eventually lead to the teacher ignoring them more and more.
Two things stated in the New Testament seem to me to have affect on this whole matter. One is found in I Corinthians 12 when Paul is describing the nature of the church as the body of Christ. In the discussion of there being no place for inferiority in the body that all members of the body are needed and no place for superiority in the body, he makes the statement that we should in the body give honor to the one who needs it instead of just to the one who deserves it. He compared the thought to how we dress up the parts of the body that are least beautiful so that they can appear beautiful to others. Let’s face it, every person needs honor so the teaching is that everyone in the body of Christ should have honor, either because they deserve it for because they need it. The other point is taken from I Peter 5:7 where Peter said, “Casting all our cares on him because He cares for us.” While we may feel there are times when no one cares for us or for our soul, it is never true. Always, under all circumstances, God cares for each of us. He longs for every person to be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
We may feel uncared for but we always need to know that our feelings have little to do with reality. The more we emphasize the reality of God’s care and the care of those who love the Lord the less the feeling will attack us.