Growing up as a Pastor’s kid had many perks.
Empty wooden pews transformed into our playground. And it wasn’t uncommon for regular competitions testing upper body strength and physical endurance to ensue as we competed to see who could army crawl their way from the pulpit to the back row the fastest!
Vacant Sunday School classrooms (which we had access to, thanks to the master-key we were always able to get our hands on!) were always filled with endless entertainment thanks to glitter glue and infinite amounts of goldfish crackers.
And the day that was always sure to get this PK’s heart racing in excitement was the one in which we would take ‘The Lord’s Supper.’ More specifically, it was when the hundreds of people who had once filled the pews were now heading home with their families for the afternoon, and a little plastic cup with a shallow pool of leftover grape juice marked the place where they sat. It was there that I would wait. Wait for when my father was far too busy cleaning up and locking the doors, to notice me shamelessly walking the aisles and drinking the last remnant of juice…. from each cup… in every row…. until I had savored the last drop of each and every one!
Sorry Mom, I do sincerely hope this isn’t the first time you have heard this.
But above all else, I am most thankful for the skill I have mastered over the course of my many years growing up in the church… the uncanny ability I possess to spot even the most subtle of judgements.
How did I acquire this gift you ask? Because judgement is as prevalent in church as fake smiles, panty-hose, and renditions of Amazing Grace!
Over the years, I have overheard the backhanded comments towards the ‘tattooed couple’ sitting in the back row of the balcony; I have sat at, then excused myself from, a table of people who had nothing better to do then to whisper about the same-sex couple in the booth behind us; and I have endured innumerable prayer requests shared ‘with a heavy heart’ that are laced with malice and gossip.
Sadly, even to this day, I have friends and family who at the hands of such judgement, seem to believe that one must “exude perfection, lest you be judged…”
But this last week, while reading the Book of Hosea, God spoke to the most superficial and judgmental person in me…
Hosea illustrates both God’s uncontainable fury towards sin, and His passionate love and loyalty for His people in spite of it! It begins with the story of a man named Hosea, who is married to a prostitute named Gomer, and whose three children are the product of his wife’s unfaithfulness. A man, who if you were asking just me, had every right to judge! And to light some junk on fire, if you know what I mean!
But God had a plan to deal with Gomer’s straying when in Hosea 2:6,14 He says, “I will fence her in with thorn bushes. I will block her way with a wall to make her lose her way… But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. I will return her vineyards to her, and. transform the valley of trouble into a gateway of hope”
I found it interesting that never once does God ask Hosea to ‘grab her arms, while He grabs her legs…’ so-to-speak. Instead, He makes it very clear that He has a plan and, more importantly, that He’s got it covered! He will fence her in… He will block her way… He will win her back… He will lead her and transform her…
And that, ultimately, He doesn’t need our help. (GASP!)
I believe many of us Christians begin to think a little too highly of ourselves. We start seeing ourselves as the ‘Robin’ to God’s ‘Batman,’ and we falsely believe that the Creator of the Universe needs our help rescuing lost souls…often times one “strategically placed” Bible verse at a time! We resort to pitchforks and engage in spiritual debates; yet in these verses it seems God never asked for the help we so free-handedly offer.
Kinda stings, doesn’t it?
But then God does ask something from Hosea! And what He instructs him to do is surprising…
“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. THIS will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel.'” – Hosea 3:1 [Emphasis added]
You see – at this time Israel, much like Gomer, was full of wickedness with a tendency to fall back into its “unbecoming” ways. This was a nation whose people were far from God and indulged in every sin imaginable. But God’s most passionate desire expressed in the book of Hosea is to show the unrighteous and immoral people of Israel that He still loves them in spite of it!
(Now for the record, this post will in no way directly address cheating spouses. Nor is that my expertise! After all, like I said earlier, I lean towards lighting things on fire! 😉
I am talking about the epidemic Christians have believed for far too long! The belief that we are to embark on a passionate crusade against the way other people are living their lives. A journey, that the Lord made very clear to me this last week, I was never invited on to begin with!
My job, like Hosea, is to love.
To ‘go and love’ those who are the cause of my anguish… to ‘go and love’ the person I just don’t ‘connect with’ and who I avoid at all costs in the church lobby… to ‘go and love’ those who have been given too many chances and who are SO undeserving….
You see, there’s a man that stands every day in Times Square with a megaphone…
A man with a message, standing in one of the most prominent areas of our country to speak words he believes are of great significance. So he amplifies his voice loud enough so the 170,000 people walking past him can hear what he has to say.
But the message he has hand-selected to introduce our God to the streets of New York City is always one of condemnation, rage, and disgust with the sin of this city. Even worse yet, our hopeless future as sinners because of it!
And you know what? I don’t think he is a bad person.
I believe just as much as him, that
the world … that WE – desperately need Jesus more than ever! Furthermore, I know that some could argue that the man with the megaphone’s fury against sin and alternative lifestyles, parallel much of the same outrage that God had for Israel at the time…
I fear however, that he is playing the wrong role.
In Hosea, we learn that it is God who can, and will, judge. And ultimately, it is only God’s perfecting love that can “transform …”
But like Hosea, we are only asked to love.
So, we too must decide what message we are going to proclaim to the world. What will be our chosen words to the people who pass by us each day?
Will it be a message that arrogantly puts people in their place and, in doing so, broadcasts that the Almighty God we serve lacks the strength to fight for His people on His own? Do we truly believe that our God is so weak that He needs flawed human beings like ourselves to be His backbone?
OR… are we going to remember the truth found in Hosea and believe that the Lord, in all of His power, will Himself fight for His people? And will we remember that the best thing we can do as His devoted followers, is to choose each day to speak a message that sounds like hope and feels like an outpouring of love to all of His people?
This is the message that beautifully illustrates the fervent love God has for even the most undeserving and unworthy, no matter how far they have strayed from Him!
Because I realized this last week:
It’s not about us as Christians standing by to do nothing. It’s about stepping to the side to allow God to BE everything!
It’s nothing personal, God just doesn’t need your help.
17 thoughts on “God Doesn’t Need Your Help”
Love this message! And I could not agree more…the world needs less condemnation and judgement a and much more love!
Wow…that is really powerful. God really spoke to my heart as that is something that I have been dealing with for a long time. For the longest time I hated ‘hypocrisy’ in the church setting and ultimately was part of the reason why I ran away from church.
Christians many times are quick to throw each other in front of God and wanting him to cast judgement on ‘this person’. However the Judgement Seat is at a much later time. Jesus died on the cross so that we can BOLDLY come before His Throne of Grace. Like you said…we arent here to judge others but to show Christ’s love to the person that is ‘unloveable’.
God has been working in my life over the last several months and opening my eyes to so much that I have missed or not cared to pay attention to in the past. This song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGXDfxWM2r0) has an added chorus that you wont hear in many churches. If you think about this chorus…and apply it to our lives it speaks on so many levels. Just think about it…Jesus actually did all of those things for us in the chorus as well. He became broken so we could be mended. He was wounded so we could be healed. He came desperate to God in the garden crying for God to let this cup pass from Him. God turned his back on Jesus because he had took on all of our sin. Could you imagine if you came to God and he looked at us and saw all of our sin and turned his back on us? It doesnt happen that way…Jesus took our punishment so that we may come boldy before God’s Throne of Grace.
This is just as beautiful, and the last of your comment is completely true. God commands us to LOVE, not to judge, and Kristy hits it dead on with the amount of judging that goes on in the church, even by well meaning people. All I can do is give a loud AMEN to this post.
This was my exact prayer today, realizing God doesn’t need me and asking God to fill me in on all that He’s doing. What a joy and honor to be a part of it when he gives us a glimpse of what He’s doing.
Krista, I have to admit, this was a hard one for me to read all the way through. It was hard because, at first, I totally didn’t agree with you! I am a pretty black and white person and the fire lighting? Oh yeah, that is me to a “T”. We have heard for so long to hate the sin but love the sinner and I have always HATED that saying because it sounds like we are condoning what they are doing and the verse “flee the very appearance of evil” comes racing to my mind every stinkin’ time I try and hate and love appropriately. I must admit that the same sex couple in church is the one I have the hardest time with. I think everyone has one “sin” they deal harshly with in their head and homosexuality is mine. However, as I was reading, one thing stood out over all else. God doesn’t need my help. See I am a fixer from way back and walking in His Spirit and not my flesh is something He has really been dealing with me on. I see so many things that need fixing and God is so busy…wow, what a lie I tell myself! Thank you Krista for exposing my flesh once again to His sovereign, purifying fire. It stings a bit when that fat hits the fire but it is a good sting and it reminds me that there is much to be burned away in His love.
You saying “I think everyone has one “sin” they deal harshly with in their head” rang so true to me. That is something that I have always done. I have tried to make some sins bigger than others.
I saw a post on Facebook a few months back that was a picture that hopefully I can put into words. If you can imagine looking over a city and seeing skyscrapers. Now each skyscraper is a sin and how man sees sin. We may put a little white lie as the tiniest building and then adultry or murder as one of the tallest buildings. We constantly try to measure up and say ‘well my sin isnt as bad as their sin’. So ask yourself this…how does God see sin? Now imagine that same picture of a city and all of the large buildings…now look at it from a Godly perspective (a top view). When you look at a skyscraper from the top…it is no taller than the shortest building next to it. God sees all sin as equal. Pretty powerful if you stop and think about it.
Oh My goodness Chris, that is so exactly perfect! That image will be burned into my head now. Thank you for that!
Perfect illustration, but the consequences will not be the same…
Love your blog and always look forward to when it pops up in my e-mail. But not to contradict you, to agree with you, just not your title: God does need our help tremendously – to love others 🙂 Thank you for writing!!!! Peace and Blessings, Theresa
I agree with you to a point… Yes the Lord our God does not NEED our help, but He by all means smiles upon us, when we try….Take this illustration of my nephew and his dad (my brother), every Saturday, his dad goes out and mows the lawn, and my nephew since the day he could walk and because he wants to be like his dad, takes out his plastic lawn mower, and “helps dad.” Not one blade of grass is cut by my nephew, but nevertheless his dad, is proud of Him and thankful to him for helping….Christ asks us this: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19,20)… The Lord our God want us to go and help him proclaim his Gospel, and his Commandments, he doesn’t need us to, he can do it all by himself…But he is our Father, and just as my brother is proud of his son for helping him mow the lawn, so is our Father proud of us for helping Him……. So with all of this in mind, we should be out there on the street corners proclaiming the gospel with megaphones and loud speakers, but by no means should we be proclaiming a gospel of judgement, that is not good news. The good news is that God loves us and he will shower his grace upon all who turn from their sins and trust in him. The real question is this: “How can we proclaim this good-news gospel, making people aware of their sin and the need of Christ, without the spirit of judgement, but with the spirit of Love?”
Awesome words. Letting God do the work…..imagine that!!! We get in the way so much don’t we?! Thanks for speaking the truth. I enjoy your posts.
Goodness I needed this. I’m dealing with a very difficult situation right now with people who are so hard to love. My husbands ex wife is so full of jealousy towards me that she works like the devil to turn her daughters and all of my husbands family against me. I have done what I know God wants me to do and kept my mouth shut through the whole thing. Very difficult for me to do without Gods grace! It is so hard to deal with the ugliness from these people but I’m seriously praying all the time for God to change MY heart towards them instead of always feeling like I should defend myself. I know God will do His work in all of us and He doesn’t need my help letting these people know how hateful they are being. I ask that you pray for me to be loving towards these most unloveable people and that I would be patient while Gods work is done in His time, not mine.
Amen! I was cringing and the communion cups, however. Glad the blog chat I was involved in tonight pointed me your direction.
That last account isn’t active. This is where I write about my walk.www.dailymusingsbycarrie.blogspot.com
Beautiful — and, scripture that spoke directly to me…!