He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.
A couple of weeks ago, we got into a nice discussion about having a hard time loving others. Sometimes it is hard to love the poor when we see them squander money on useless things rather than spending it where it needs to be--on their family. Sometimes it is hard to love when you see someone driving a fancy car, dripping in jewelry, when you know there are people out there that are hurting and could use help.
As I was contemplating this verse, I was thinking of ways that people are 'poor'- but not just monetarily. People with addictions, depression, loneliness, hatred that eats at them...there are so many ways that people are needy.
I am not going to make this a long study today. In your personal time, think about ways that people are 'poor'. In your journal, just don't make a list of these ways, but make a list of people. List their need and how you might begin to be gracious to help them with that need. It may not be something that you can do right away. And you may have to do it again, and again.
An example-- I have a half-brother that is a drug addict. He has lived with me numerous times; once even on house arrest. Each time I tried to be loving and gracious in spite of his addiction.I would encourage and praise him when he did good. That doesn't mean that I just let him get away with things. The minute I caught him with drugs--I was the one to call his parole officer. I haven't had contact with my brother since he found out I'm married to someone who works for the Dept of Corrections (go figure!) but I know that he knows that I am praying for him and that I will welcome him with open arms next time he shows his face.