Need 2:Compassion For Others:Nehemiah 5:6-7
6 And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So I called a great assembly against them.
I love the response of Nehemiah. He is furious at what is happening because he has the heart of God. He cannot tolerate those who are in a strong position taking advantage of those in a weaker position. THIS IS THE HEART OF GOD. If you have the heart of Christ, then you will have compassion for that which God has compassion.
Jesus our Savior wept at the tomb of Lazarus, extended care for his mother while he hung on the cross, felt deep compassion and love for the rich young ruler, and was furious at the poor worshipers being swindled in the temple court, as he threw the money changers out. The deep compassion of Christ as reflected in the Gospels, when in us, will express that compassion for others in need around us.
Need 3:Confrontation With Objectives:Nehemiah 5:8-10
8 And I said to them, “According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?” Then they were silenced and found nothing to say.
9 Then I said, “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?
10 I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury!
11 Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them.”
Nehemiah confronts the problem, explains the offense, and provides a solution. He is not joking about the problem. In fact, his confrontation of the problem had the potential to make people mad at him, but he loved these people too much not to confront their sin. Yet, as he confronted a problem, he had a clear objective for how to solve it.
Adolph Hitler had risen to great power in Germany and had begun the invasions of other countries in 1936 in Europe. By 1938 Nevil Chamberlin was the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Chamberlin’s strategy was appeasement. He felt that, if he allowed Hitler the few lands he had already taken without resistance, then things would be OK. Chamberlin signed the Munich Agreement on September 30, 1938.
One of the members of parliament, in disagreement with Chamberlin’s approach to dealing with Hitler, declared,
“You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.”
The man who declared that was Winston Churchill. At that time, the British people vilified Churchill as a war monger and enemy of peace. And yet, it would be Churchill that they turned to when they almost lost their country to Hitler’s Germany.
Chamberlin’s problem? He refused to honestly confront the problem with a clear objective toward a plan.
If I confront the sin of one of the members of the body of Christ, then I understand I am taking the chance of making that person angry at me. But, by God’s grace, I should love the person enough to care more about his or her spiritual condition than whether they think I am nice or not. If I know a person is doing something that will damage his spiritual life, or family, and I do nothing about it for fear of your rejection, then I care more about acceptance than him. That is not true love. A Christian must confront problems with clear, God-led objectives.