TeachingHelp.org http://www.teachinghelp.org The Writings of Kim Higginbotham Fri, 16 Jun 2017 13:44:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 23309768 Lessons From My Dad http://www.teachinghelp.org/lessons-from-my-dad/ Fri, 16 Jun 2017 13:40:05 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2712

It is hard for me to believe that it has been 18 years since I’ve seen my dad. Prior to his passing, I traveled from my home to be with him for nearly a week while he was in the hospital. After the week, I returned home to my family, Dad was released from the hospital and then he unexpectedly passed away in his sleep. While I was overwhelmingly sad, I also felt a relief for him. He had lived with extreme and constant pain for nearly 35 years. He was released from that pain, but with losing him, my pain was just beginning.

Dad was a man that some described as the “strong, silent type” or a “gentle giant.” While he had no medals, no title, and no money, I would describe my dad as a hero. By his life and example, he taught lessons that made a life long impression on me.

Here are a few of those lessons:

  • Don’t complain about your circumstances. When I was two years old, my dad was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis just like his dad before him. My grandfather dealt with his pain by being bitter and hateful to everyone around him. My father learned from that and never made his pain a burden on others (Philippians 2:14).
  • Appreciate what others do for you. Walking, getting up and down from his chair… so many things that we take for granted were hard for dad to do. When Mom or anyone else did something for him, he was always appreciative. When my sister or I baked sweet treats, he bragged on us and made us feel so appreciated (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
  • Education is important. My dad had to drop out of high school in the 9th grade to help support his family. While he never completed a formal education, he was a life long learner. Every Monday night after dinner, he would go to the public library to check out stacks of books. He had a special interest in history, Louis L’amour westerns, and the Bible (Proverbs 18:15).
  • Follow truth and not the tradition of your family. When my sister was born, my parents decided that they wanted her raised in church, but they were not sure where they should go. Dad’s family had their beliefs and my mom’s family had theirs. When dad’s mother-in-law began sharing her faith with him and his mother shared hers, dad examined what they said against what the Bible said. Ultimately, he discovered that what his mother-in-law was saying was biblically correct. His mother was hurt, but dad knew that all that matters is what the Scripture teaches (John 8:32).
  • You can overcome your upbringing. Dad never talked about his dad or family to me. I knew he loved and respected his mother and sister, but he was silent about his dad and some other family members. While doing genealogy work in the past few years, I discovered some reasons. Stories of physical abuse, verbal abuse, and alcoholism surfaced. Dad wanted nothing to do with that way of life (Philippians 3:13-14).
  • Family needs come before your own needs. My sister remembers the summer she started school. My parents wanted her school experience to get off on the right foot. Though they had very little, they bought her 5 new school dresses, underclothes, socks and shoes. She remembers feeling so rich with all her beautiful new dresses. A little later while sitting in church, she saw dad cross his leg and mom tapping him to put it down. What she saw was the bottom of dad’s shoe that was worn completely through with his sock showing. While my sister sat there feeling so rich, she was keenly aware that dad had the shoes of a poor man. Giving the best he could for his little girl was more important than his own needs (Philippians 2:3).
  • Bible questions deserve Bible answers. When I was in high school, I started doing my own Bible reading and study. Before I went to bed, I would read chapters and make notes on passages or words that I didn’t understand. The following morning before school, dad would be at the breakfast table. There I would ask my questions from the previous night’s study. Dad didn’t feel the need to make up an answer just to look like he knew it all. He studied the Scriptures daily so that he could give me Bible answers to my Bible questions (1 Peter 3:15).

There are so many children growing up in homes where the father is weak, disinterested, abusive, or completely absent. I realize how truly thankful I am to have had a dad that loved my sister and me, adored our mother, and most importantly loved God throughout his life. He made me feel important and as if I could do anything. He showed me what kind of man I would want to marry. While I would never want to bring him back to the pain and suffering he experienced in this life, I am very much looking forward to the reunion we will have one day!

Push, Pull, or Carry…Just Get There http://www.teachinghelp.org/push-pull-or-carry-just-get-there/ Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:40:37 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2730

In 2014, Peder Mondrup became the first man with cerebral palsy to complete an Ironman triathlon competition. Peder and his twin brother, Steen used special equipment which allowed Steen to swim 2.4 miles while pulling Peder on a raft. He biked 112 miles while Peder sat in front of him. And he ran 26.2 miles while pushing Peder in a wheelchair across the hilly terrain. It took the team 15 1/2 hours to complete the challenge in Copenhagen, Denmark, but they finally crossed the finish line together with dozens of spectators cheering them on!

Isn’t that what Christians are to do for each other? Getting to heaven is no easy task. Obstacles get in our way. We get exhausted and discouraged. But as Christians, we can bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), comfort the faint-hearted and uphold the weak (1 Thessalonians 5:14), and lift others up who are falling (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). As the members of God’s family, we can push, pull, or carry each other to help one another get to the finish line.

Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, so we need to lay aside every weight and sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run the race with endurance. No matter what the challenges and difficulties in life, never stop running the race!

It’s Easy to…Until You Have to … http://www.teachinghelp.org/its-easy-to-until-you-have-to/ Thu, 25 May 2017 12:40:27 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2669

How hard can it be to love Jesus? After all he has never done anything but good for me. He tells me to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind and to love my neighbor as myself-(Matthew 22:36-40) which sounds simple enough. After all, I try to be a decent, moral, God loving person. However, it may be just a little harder than it first appears.

Consider the following:

  • It is easy to love my enemies, until I actually have one (Matthew 5:44).
  • It is easy to forgive, until someone breaks my heart (Matthew 6:14-15).
  • It is easy to suffer for the cause of Christ, until someone tries to crush me (1 Peter 3:14).
  • It is easy to sing, “I Surrender All,” until I have to give up something or someone I hold dear (Luke 14:33).
  • It is easy to believe in church discipline, until it is my family member needing disciplined (2 Thessalonians 3:6).
  • It is easy to let my light shine before men, until someone criticizes my light for being too bright (Matthew 5:16).
  • It is easy to be in submission to my husband, until he asks me to do something I don’t want to do (1 Peter 3:1).
  • It is easy to bear a brother’s burdens, until they get too heavy (Galatians 6:2).
  • It is easy to say, “I would die for the Lord,” until I have to demonstrate that I am willing living for Him (Galatians 2:20).

So when you think about it, the test of loving God and your neighbor may be much more difficult than it sounds. The true test of discipleship is being willing to walk faithfully with the Lord no matter how difficult that walk may be. (John 14:15).

Lessons From My Mama http://www.teachinghelp.org/lessons-from-my-mama/ Fri, 19 May 2017 17:40:54 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2677

My mother passed away February 21, 2010 after a short weekend hospital stay. She wasn’t in good health, but her passing was still unexpected. This was the 8th Mother’s Day without her. As is often the case, I often find my mother’s voice coming out of my mouth when I speak to my children. Her words and influence carry on through me in a number of ways.

As I reflect on my this week, I have several lessons that she taught me in her words and in her life. Here are just a few:

  • Cooking for people and sharing food is an act of comfort and love. Mom was always providing food for funerals, home baked cookies for VBS, or homemade chicken & dumplings and coconut cream pie for company.
  • “People who are the most unlovable, need love the most.” Any time someone hurt my feelings, she reminded me that there must be something wrong in their life for them to act so hatefully.
  • There is great joy in homemaking. Mom loved taking care of our home and yard. Along with her cooking, she kept our home neat and comfortable, canned vegetables from the garden, and loved growing beautiful flowers.
  • Set goals, work hard, and good things will happen. Mom’s first job was part time selling ladies clothing at a Montgomery Ward department store. Through her hard work and ability to sell, she continually moved up to selling big appliances and electronics. There were always sales contests and Mom was a frequent winner. She won prizes such as a microwave and VCR (long before most people had them). After I was grown, she won a national sales contest for an appliance manufacturer and won a trip to Europe with my dad that was a trip of a lifetime.
  • Mom was completely devoted to my dad and loved him with all her heart. My father developed rheumatoid arthritis while in his mid-30’s. Because of his health, Mom had to take on more responsibilities in providing income and health insurance for the family. She had to do more lawn care and jobs that my dad used to do, but couldn’t any more. She didn’t seem resentful or bitter about that. She loved spoiling dad by making his favorite foods and waiting on him.
  • Mom told me to “marry a man like my dad.” That meant a man who was steady, dependable, patient, hard working, who would spoil me and love the Lord with all his heart. I scored on that one! 🙂
  • She taught me that God answers prayers. One of her phrases when I was hoping for something to happen was, “Get your hotline going!” I remember her praying with me as we watched out the window for the school bus to come.

It is often the case that the older we get, the more we appreciate our parents. I was so blessed to grow up in a Christian home with parents who taught my sister and me so many life lessons by their words as well as their conduct. Most importantly, they taught us the way to get to heaven. I look forward to a wonderful family reunion with my parents one day.

Giving Your Child to the Devil http://www.teachinghelp.org/giving-your-child-to-the-devil/ http://www.teachinghelp.org/giving-your-child-to-the-devil/#comments Sat, 06 May 2017 16:00:59 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2617

(Please be sure and read the addendum at the end of this article).

It has been said that in marriage, the pain and stress of divorce is greater than even the pain of losing a spouse to death. I believe the same can be said of breaking ties with your child. Unless one has experienced this kind of loss and grief, they cannot fully understand the depth of pain experienced by a parent.

Someone may ask, “Why would anyone break ties with her own child?” The answer is, “loyalty to Jesus.” Being a disciple of Jesus demands our relationship to him be greater than our relationship to our own family, even our own children (Matthew 10:37).

I pray that you never have to make such a sacrifice, but I also pray that you love the Lord enough to choose Him over your children. This is where we find ourselves. This is our life. Our oldest son has turned his back on the Lord, and in spite of all our attempts, he refuses to repent. Consequently, our relationship has changed. It cannot remain the same and be loyal to Jesus (2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13). Our contact with our son is now limited to attempts at restoration. We have no fellowship. We used to share holidays, regular phone calls and texts, family events, etc. but now, all that is gone. Our son has completely turned his back on everything he ever believed. He has no respect for the Lord or His church. He has chosen a life of sin rather than the hope of salvation. And because of his rebellion against God, we as parents must make a choice. Do we overlook his practice of sin and maintain our relationship, or do we withdraw ourselves from him as the Lord instructs?

I believe that the blood of Christ is more important that the physical flesh and blood that I share with my son. Unfortunately, my husband and I know the pain of “giving our child to the Devil.” Those words are sharp, shocking and grim, just as Paul intended them to be when he wrote them (1 Corinthians 5:5). Perhaps I am writing this is for myself more than for those who are reading. I have not seen my son in nearly two and a half years now and there are days that the pain is just as fresh as ever. Until now, I have kept this pain inside and shared with only a couple of my closest friends. I am not sure that a day has gone by that I have not shed tears. Sometimes it is a single tear and other days are gut wrenching cries of despair. I have pulled into my driveway with tears blinding my eyes, only to find myself literally screaming and wailing in grief. I’m devastated by our loss; his loss.

I feel desperation and hopelessness. I’m scared. What probably began as harmless flirtation with sin has now become a quicksand that pulls my son deeper and deeper toward Hell. Sometimes I feel jealous of other parents who have close, loving relationships with all their grown children. I feel embarrassed by what my son has done.

The fact is, I don’t know this person that I once thought I knew so well. Was I blind to things that I should have seen? I believed our relationship was so close. I adored this child. Was the love our son expressed to us all a lie? How does one go from being a respectful obedient child to flagrantly disregarding everything we taught him and everything that we stand for?

A full night’s sleep…what is that? While I am able to fall asleep easily, there is not a night that goes by that I sleep until morning. I awaken in the middle of the night, and the first thought in my mind is that I had just had a terrible dream, but I soon realize that it wasn’t a dream, it is reality; my reality.

I try to picture where my son is now and what he may be doing. I hurt. Sin is ugly. It is disgusting. It perverts. While I don’t want to know, I find myself drawn to his social media like watching two cars collide. I want to look away, but I can’t. I care too much.

Sometimes the hardest thing are the memories. Remembering the joy I felt in that plump baby who looked at me so adoringly. I remember when he sat on the kitchen counter helping peel potatoes or stir ingredients into the batter. I remember our home school days at the kitchen table and reading together on the couch. I remember singing harmony together in the kitchen. I remember the pride I felt when he led singing or gave a talk at young men’s night at church. Those memories are all I have left now. There are no more to make.

Occasionally, I may see a young man that looks like my son. Or, I may be cleaning out a closet and see a photograph. I may be asked by a well-meaning person, where my son is now. All these make me cry. He was such a handsome boy, an excellent student, a talented musician, so kind and thoughtful of others. He never gave us trouble while at home. He loved his siblings. I remember his “infectious laugh.”

Mother’s day and Father’s day are so hard. While we used to receive the most precious cards and notes of love and appreciation, now any correspondence from him are filled with anger, blame, hateful words. Even worse are the sarcastic and blasphemous words used toward his heavenly Father.

Self evaluation, guilt, despair, fear….I have felt all these emotions. Who is a perfect parent? Who doesn’t have something that they would change if they could go back. Even so, I know that we were good parents. We loved our son, spent time with him, encouraged him, and taught him God’s word.

I don’t know what the future holds for our son or our family. What I do know is that God is faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3). He will do what is right (Genesis 18:25). He will reward those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). More than I could have ever understood before, I long for the promises of heaven, namely that God will wipe away every tear…there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).

Heaven will be a place of great reunion with those who have gone on before. There is an old hymn that invites everyone to “come to the feast”. I just wish we didn’t have an empty chair at our table.

Addendum:  After having read several replies to my article, I saw several common misconceptions that were continually being made. Therefore, I thought I might clear a few of these up for some readers.

1. Unconditional Love Is Not The Same Thing As Acceptance. Nearly everyone who has written to me has “scolded” me for not loving my child “unconditionally.” Their accusation is false. I do love my child unconditionally. There is nothing that my child could ever do to make me stop loving him. I believe that’s what unconditional love is, and that’s what I practice. However, many are apparently confused being unable to distinguish between unconditional love and acceptance. While I will never stop loving my son, I refuse to accept the sin of which my son remains unrepentant. God is indeed a God of love, but have so many forgotten that this “God of love” disciplines his children, even “giving them up” (Romans 1:24,26,28), and will some day eternally separate himself from them? God doesn’t stop loving his children, but his love doesn’t keep him from separating himself from them (Isaiah 59:1-2). I think if people would read the prophets, they’d be shocked to see how their short-sighted view of love is overturned by God’s genuine response of love. Furthermore, you might do well to remember that a man, a good man, came to Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to be saved. Jesus told him, and the man was unwilling to do it. But don’t miss this.  The text says that Jesus, looking at him, loved him.  But he let him walk away. He didn’t call him back. He didn’t change his terms. He loved him, but let him walk away (Mark 10:21-22). The fact that our son has walked away from us doesn’t mean we have stopped loving him.

2.  Jesus Loved Sinners, even socializing with them. Of course he did. And so do I. But what many are failing to understand is that there are two types of sinners. Sinners who are outside the body of Christ (still in the world), and sinners who are part of the body of Christ (brethren). The inspired apostle Paul said they are to be treated differently (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). The Corinthians had a question about keeping company with sinners and Paul told them they had misunderstood his instructions. He said that he was not forbidding Christians from keeping company with sinners, otherwise, we couldn’t live in the world. Instead, he was telling them that they were not to keep company or fellowship, not even to eat with a sinner who is a BROTHER in Christ. I’m not surprised that so many failed to see this distinction because it isn’t frequently preached, and it is even more seldom put into practice. But it is in the Bible…read it for yourself.

3.  What Is The Sin That Is So Terrible That You Would “Abandon” Your Son?  First of all, we haven’t “abandoned” our son.  He has abandoned us. We are right where we have always been. Even the prophet Amos said that two cannot walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3). He chose to walk down a path of sin; a path in which we will not walk with him, nor will we endorse him as he walks it. My loyalty is first to God, not my family (Matthew 10:34-37). Second, the specific sin is irrelevant. My response would be the same if he were unrepentant with regard to any sin. Of course, I’m not talking about sins of momentary human weakness, sins committed in the moment, or sins we are trying to fight. I’m talking about sins to which we have given ourselves. Sins we no longer fight, but to which we have surrendered ourselves. Again, the doctrine of discipline is ignored by many Christians today, and so they, along with the world, are shocked to learn of such doctrine. But if you believe the Bible to be the word of God, then it’s there staring you in the face, and you have a decision to obey or disobey it (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15).

And one final thought. Those who have, through their “feigned” righteous indignation, called for my death; prayed that I rot in Hell; proposed sexual acts be done to me; cursed at me with the vilest of profanities; and who have blasphemed the God I serve…let me assure you of this one thing…Your hateful words have only solidified my stance. Your hate speech, draped in feigned concern and love for God and my son, have served to remind me that I live in a fallen world. Your words have emboldened me and have not caused me to shrink. Your words have deepened my roots. I will not be moved.  In fact, your words have actually given me reason to rejoice in that you have allowed me the privilege, however small it may be, to share in the suffering of Jesus. “But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings…” (1 Peter 4:13).

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Ways to Show Appreciation to a Bible Class Teacher http://www.teachinghelp.org/ways-to-show-appreciation-to-a-bible-class-teacher/ Thu, 02 Mar 2017 19:20:22 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2241

apple-teachers-deskGood Bible class teachers work hard.  Week after week, they prepare lessons, create materials, change bulletin boards, and change lives.  They teach other people’s children for no paycheck. Their motivation is to serve the Lord by making an eternal difference in the lives of their students.

We have all had Bible class teachers who have taught us God’s word and encouraged us to become better people. These men and women deserve our praise and appreciation (Romans 13:7). Expressing our thanks makes a teacher feel appreciated which in turn makes them more confident and better teachers.

Here are a few ideas that will show your love and appreciation to a teacher:

  • Tell them that you appreciate them. Words are powerful.
  • Write a simple, heart-felt note of appreciation, letting them know the impact they’ve made on your life.
  • Give them a hug or shake their hand.
  • Bake a treat or cook dinner for them.
  • Buy them a Christmas or birthday gift.
  • Surprise them with their favorite candy or flowers.
  • Give a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant.
  • Offer to help decorate the room, door, or bulletin boards.
  • Give a banquet in honor of all your teachers. (Hint: It’s not a potluck where they do the cooking!)
  • Donate money towards their classroom. Many teachers buy classroom supplies out of their own pocket. A donation can help ease this burden.
  • Be the best Bible student that you can. Teachers appreciate students who are and who are genuinely excited to learn.
  • If the teacher has a Facebook account, publicly show your appreciation. Brag on them in front of others.
  • Tell the elders how much you appreciate the teacher and what a great job they do.
  • Interview the students to find out what makes the teacher special.  Compile answers into a card or booklet.

Above all else, honor God with your life. Nothing shows a teacher that she did a great job and made a difference more than seeing her students become and live as faithful Christians


7 Reasons Why You Should Know Someone with Special Needs http://www.teachinghelp.org/7-reasons-why-you-should-know-someone-with-special-needs/ Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:50:06 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2149


A few years ago, I had a precious five year old boy in my classroom with mitochondrial disease. It had affected nearly every organ in his small body. On a late November afternoon after a great day at school, he took a nap and never woke up. He died in his sleep from a grand mal seizure.

While his family and those of us at school coped with the shock and loss, a school psychologist was sent to help with grief counseling. She gathered the staff together to talk and one thing she said has stuck with me. She said that we were probably all asking the question, “why”. Not necessarily why he died, but why were children like this born into the world with disability and illness. Without hesitation, I blurted out, “I know why. He was here to teach us.” I have learned far more valuable lessons from my special friends than I have ever taught them. While I taught functional skills, communication, and academics, they taught me lessons about God. Lessons that I’m not sure I would have ever known if not for having close personal relationships with them.

So what did I learn and why do I believe that should you develop relationships with those who have special needs? Here are just a few reasons:

  1. You will learn compassion. I saw so many children and their families who struggled in ways I could never imagine. My students had dozens of surgical procedures, multiple hospital stays, countless hours of therapy. I saw them struggle to do simple tasks that I never think twice about doing.
  2. You will learn acceptance. My special friends didn’t judge others based on their appearance or differences. It didn’t matter if others around them were attractive or unattractive, dressed well or not, successful or failing. When I was tired or having a bad day, they just threw their arms around me and loved me unconditionally.
  3. You will learn patience. The least little things can take so long. Years were spent learning basic self help skills that a typical child will go through in a few weeks. When a child learned to take a bite of real food for the first time after years on a feeding tube or when a child uttered their first word at the age of seven years old, it was cause for quite a celebration!
  4. You will learn gratitude for your own blessings. While I am healthy and my children were born healthy, I know that our bodies are never more than an illness or accident away from becoming a person with special needs. I have learned to appreciate simple blessings like having eyes to see (one of my students did not) and being able to walk unassisted.
  5. You will learn service. Many people with special needs require help with the most basic tasks. Physical needs must be tended to. Sometimes those things are distasteful, but we are never more truly a servant than when we do things that others will not. We also have opportunity to perform those tasks with a smile and a kind word to those in our care.
  6. You will have the opportunity to see eternal innocence. Most with special needs maintain a child-like innocence throughout their lives. They are born sinless as we all are, but do not progress to the point of making sinful choices like I have.
  7. You will have an opportunity to see perfection in the sight of God. While we see imperfect bodies and minds from our earthly points of view, God sees the perfect soul in them. We are the imperfect ones in the eyes of God.

If you do not have special needs friends in your circle, let me encourage you to do so. I guarantee that you will never be more Christ-like than when you become as “one of the least of these my brethren”-Matthew 25:40.


Photo: The beautiful girl and her daddy are members of the church in Columbia, TN.


I Never Heard Him Complain http://www.teachinghelp.org/i-never-heard-him-complain/ http://www.teachinghelp.org/i-never-heard-him-complain/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2315

daWhen I was two years old, my father was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.  He was primarily affected in his hands and feet which was not easy for a man who made his living as a barber.

He had a stool that attached to his barber chair that enabled him to sit and work.  He continued to work until I was twelve, just long enough for my sister to finish college.  Then his health forced him to take early retirement.

When he taught Bible classes or filled in to preach, he had a kitchen stool that he would sit on since he couldn’t stand very long.  His hands were twisted and terribly disfigured.  Because of severe deformities in his feet, he could only walk short distances.  I’ve heard my mother say that there were times when he was having a flare up that it hurt just for the sheets to touch his feet.  While I knew he had arthritis from seeing his twisted hands and crippled feet, his arthritis was never a burden to me.

He never complained at home, nor did he spend his time telling everyone else about his pain.  He was a strong, quiet man who just appreciated all the ways that the Lord had blessed him.  He never missed a school activity in which I participated.  He never missed church services because of his pain.  He served as an elder for many years. He did all he could do for as long as he could.

May we follow his example and remember the Lord’s words: “Do all things without complaining or disputing” (Philippians 2:14).

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What’s Your Claim to Fame? http://www.teachinghelp.org/whats-your-claim-to-fame/ Sun, 12 Feb 2017 00:30:52 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2595

Sir Frederick Treves was known as the first English surgeon to perform an appendectomy in 1888. He was later appointed “Surgeon Extraordinaire” to Queen Victoria. He wrote articles for the British Medical Journal and later books on surgical procedures, historical characters, world travels, and experiences in a South African field hospital during the Second Boer War.

Sir Frederick was appointed as an “Honorary Sergeants Surgeon” to King Edward VII and later that year was knighted as “King Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.” He was also honored with a “baronetcy” after performing a radical appendectomy on King Edward VII which saved his life. Treves was financially able to take an early retirement and continued to serve the royal family as Sergeant Surgeon.

Quite an impressive resume isn’t it? However with all the fame among royalty and great medical achievements, he is remembered for his work with a single man, Joseph Merrick, better known as the “Elephant Man.”

Joseph Merrick had nothing but hardship in life. During his early years, he developed a debilitating condition which left him with a grotesque physical appearance. As a young child, his mother died. His father remarried and he with his new wife rejected the sickly, deformed child. After leaving home, he spent four years with a workhouse where he suffered harsh conditions and extreme abuse from others. Eventually, Joseph was offered and accepted a job as an exhibit in a “freak” show where people would pay to stare at him, gasping and poking fun at his appearance.

It was during this time that Joseph briefly met Frederick Treves who did a physical examination of him. When the show was closed down by police, Joseph took a position with a show that would travel through Europe. However his manager stole all the money he had saved and left Joseph penniless on the city streets in Belgium. He managed to get back to London and when found by police, Joseph was near death and suffering extreme malnutrition. The policemen found a business card with Dr. Treves name that Joseph had kept in his pocket and sent him to be examined by him.

Though there was no cure for Joseph’s condition, Dr. Treves created a permanent home in the hospital basement where Joseph could live out the rest of his life. Dr. Treves visited every day and they developed a very close friendship, discussing poetry that Joseph enjoyed writing. Because of Dr. Treves influence with society and royalty, he introduced this community to his friend Joseph. The result was that though they were from worlds apart, those more privileged in London society regularly visited Joseph in the hospital.

Dr. Treves saw Joseph not as a side show spectacle, but as a fellow human being. Though deeply flawed physically, he had value and was worth knowing and befriending. Treves made the effort and sacrifice to help one who was not only destitute of physical necessities, but also needed a compassionate friend.

People are often concerned about how others will accept them if they associate with an outcast. However, Dr. Treves had the courage to make a personal connection and go the extra mile by introducing him to the socially elite.

While we may not remember the impressive academic and professional achievements of Dr. Frederick Treves, the kindness and compassion shown to a societal outcast has immortalized him to the world.

Hebrews 6:10 says that God will not be unjust to forget our work and labor of love which we show toward others in His name. When we seek the outcast, speak up for those who have no voice, and do good to them in the name of Jesus, we will be remembered by the One who is far greater than any in this world.

Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Joseph Merrick (1862-1890)


Everybody Has Something http://www.teachinghelp.org/everybody-has-something/ http://www.teachinghelp.org/everybody-has-something/#comments Sun, 29 Jan 2017 00:48:15 +0000 http://www.teachinghelp.org/?p=2575

Could this be said of you? It was one of those Sundays when I was struggling. As I settled in my pew, I glanced around at those who were sitting around me. To my left,  I saw a group of teenagers who were laughing with one another as they looked for a place to sit. To my right, I saw several ladies with smiling, animated faces talking with one another. In front of me, I saw a young couple getting their children settled for worship. As for me, I felt all alone. Even though I was surrounded by my church family, I felt like I was the only one dealing with a painful situation in my life. But was that true?

I have come to the realization that “everybody has something.” If they don’t, either they are too young to have experienced life or we may not know them well enough to know their story. There are those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, difficult marriages, rebellious children, financial issues, or health concerns. What we see on the surface may cause us to think that their lives are put together, but underneath the surface, they may be completely overwhelmed by worry, fear, and grief.

When it feels as if life has turned upside down and your heart has been shattered, here are a few things to remember:

  • Everyone has troubles. (John 16:33)
  • Prayer is a powerful resource (1 John 5:14-15).
  • Talking with a trusted friend may help (Proverbs 18:24).
  • Get busy doing for others (Galatians 6:2, 10).
  • Your blessings far exceed your pain (James 1:17).
  • Because of your pain, you can help others who are hurting (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
  • Pain can bring you closer to God ( Psalms 119:71 ).
  • As Christians, we have hope that there will be something better (Revelation 21:4, 7).

Remember that you are not alone. Everybody has (or will have) something!  As God’s people, let’s treat each other with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience-(Colossians 3:12). You may never know the depth of pain in another person’s life.

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