Do People Avoid You?

Have you had this experience: you are in the grocery store and you see someone you know coming around the corner. When they see you, they quickly turn to go the other way, trying hard to make it seem like they’ve changed their mind about what they were looking for? Have you seen people who had been coming toward you, change directions to go away? It’s real. They ARE avoiding you. It’s common. It’s sad. They feel like “I don’t know what to say!” But you feel like you’ve become a problem for them. You feel like the sight of you is unwelcome. You feel abandoned. They could come to you, saying nothing! You don’t need or want words. You need and want comfort. That can come through a simple touch or hug. I know it makes them sad, but it can’t make you any sadder than you are already! Your whole state of being right now is SAD.

Somehow, I’m comforted to know this: it’s been going on forever! People have been avoiding friends who are having trouble in their lives!  See this psalm of David written about 3000 years ago:

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;     my eyes grow weak with sorrow,     my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish     and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction,     and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies,     I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends—     those who see me on the street flee from me.  Psalm 31:9-11 

That last verse tells the same story we are talking about. People go the other way! They Flee! Because you are a contempt and a dread to them. But the fact is this scene is not about them, is it? It’s about one human who could benefit by a comforting encounter with another. The one who could give comfort is too self-focused to offer. The one who is in need, truly finds comfort, but in another Comforter.

The psalmist calls out to God – BE MERCIFUL! I love the way this person describes their condition: distress, weakness of eye and bone, anguish, affliction. Right down in the bones, the very center of their being. The strongest part is weak. So he called out. What did he find? You should read the whole Psalm but here are couple verses that describe her discovery:

How abundant are the good things     that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all,     on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them     from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling     from accusing tongues.  Psalm 31:19-20

Abundance stored up for just such a day. Safety from intrigue and accusations. Sheltered in His presence. I say it here often, but that’s because it’s so true and comforting: He is with you and will never leave you!

Peace to you.