Because you say, “I am rich and prosperous and I have need of nothing,” and have not known that you are wretched and pitiable and poor and blind and naked. Rev 3:17.
Have you ever met a person who took better care of the dogs in his or her life than they did of their children? The dogs never receive a cross word, are never allowed to go hungry and receive every attention known to canines at whatever hour of the day or night. No sacrifice seems too great. A friend of mine observed about one such situation, “I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I did, I would like to come back as one of Pat’s dogs!” Dogs treated in such a way usually feel very special and strut around assuming that they are entitled to such treatment.
At the opposite end of the dog spectrum are many animals I have seen in the course of my travels around the world. In places where the people are downtrodden and poor, dogs are often treated as the lowest of the low. They are listless, underfed and pitiful. They never wag their tails and it seems that almost everyone kicks at them in order to add to their misery. They are dirty and shifty-eyed, cowering at the approach of humans.
The Laodiceans are like the pampered dogs. They assume that their prosperity and ease are rights that they are entitled to. They have little sense that sin has relegated us all to a deep inner wretchedness that is only masked by the outward marks of wealth and culture. The pitiful condition which the Laodiceans have hidden from themselves is often deeply felt by those who have been abused and mistreated in this world. They can hardly lift up their eyes to look in the eyes of another, much less pray for healing.
A middle-aged man worked in an office. Childhood molestation had left him vulnerable to the approach of sexual predators in academy and college. Although desiring to marry and have a family, he was fearful of intimacy and emotionally “ran for cover” whenever a single woman tried to engage him in conversation. People thought he was a bit odd and were usually unwilling to go deeply into the pain lodged in his heart. Finally a pastor saw through the guarded facade and invested many hours in a friendship that allowed the secrets to come out and be dealt with.
If we saw people as Jesus does, I think that we would be shocked by the miserable lives most people live. Seldom nourished by the Word of God or the gentle touch of others, their spiritual lives are listless and in the quiet moments of the night they indeed see themselves as miserable, poor, blind and naked. If we have been touched and transformed by the grace of God, then we are called to go forth and be God’s gentle healers of broken people. Would that life’s Laodiceans were as aware of their need.