Having a Caring Heart
Category : General
Hebrews 13: 3 (KJV)
3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
“No one cares how much we know, they want to know how much we care.”–anonymous
It is noted, “Though of different color, yet the same blood flows in their veins as in ours Acts 17:26; they are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. By nature they have the same right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” which we and our children have, and to deprive them of that right is as unjust as it would be to deprive us and ours of it.”
The exhortation is to “Remember them that are in bonds”. All who are “bound;” whether prisoners of war; captives in dungeons; those detained in custody for trial; those who are imprisoned for righteousness‘ sake, or those held in slavery. The word used here will include all instances where “bonds, shackles, chains were ever used.” Perhaps there is an immediate allusion to their fellow-Christians who were suffering imprisonment on account of their religion, of whom there were doubtless many at that time, but the “principle” will apply to every case of those who are imprisoned or oppressed. The word “remember” implies more than that we are merely to “think” of them (Exodus 20:8; Ecclesiastes 12:1). What follows the first clause, As being yourselves also in the body, is variously explained. Some take a general view thus, “Ye are also exposed to the same evils, according to the common lot of humanity;” but others give a more restricted sense, “As though ye were in their body.” Of neither can I approve, for I apply the words to the body of the Church, so that the meaning would be this, “Since ye are members of the same body, it behooves you to feel in common for each other’s evils, that there may be nothing disunited among you.
However, it means that we are to remember them “with appropriate sympathy;” or as we should wish others to remember us if we were in their circumstances. That is, we are to feel deep compassion for them; we are to remember them in our prayers; we are to remember them, as far as practicable, with aid for their relief. We should and must remember that God who has mercifully made our lot different from theirs, has commanded us to sympathize with them – and we should sympathize all the more when we remember that but for his restraining grace we should have been in the same condition.
Christianity teaches us to sympathize with all the oppressed, the suffering, and the sad; and there are more of this class than we commonly suppose, and they have stronger claims on our sympathy than we commonly realize. It has been observed that here in America, there are not far from ten thousand confined in prison – the father separated from his children; the husband from his wife; the brother from his sister; and all cut off from the living world. Their fare is coarse, and their couches hard, and the ties which bound them to the living world are rudely snapped asunder. Many of them are in solitary dungeons; all of them are sad and melancholy men. True, they are there for crime; but they are men – they are our brothers. They have still the feelings of our common humanity, and many of them feel their separation from wife, and children, and home, as keenly as we would.
Therefore, as Christians (believers in Jesus Christ who have accepted His as Lord and Savior), we are commanded to identify with the imprisoned and remembering that, as long as one is subject to the limitations of the flesh, the misfortune that comes to others may come likewise to himself. The author had already admonished his readers concerning the imprisoned (Hebrews 10:33,34) and returned to the subject here for emphasis. That kind remembrance of them should be shown in every practicable way. By prayer; by plans contemplating their freedom; by efforts to send them the gospel; by diffusing abroad the principles of liberty and of the rights of man, by using our influence to arouse the public mind in their behalf, we should endeavor to relieve those who are in bonds, and to hasten the time when “the oppressed shall go free.
There is nothing that can give us a more genuine feeling of compassion than to put ourselves in the place of those who are in distress; hence he says, that we ought to think of those in bonds as though we were bound with them.
Have a great and God filled day!