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We Like Saying It But...(2 of 5)

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

My grandma was a woman of few words. She wasn't one to pontificate or speak just to hear herself talk. I considered her a wise woman and I the older I got, I believed it even more. One of the things she used to say was, "You like someone because of and you love someone in spite of." When I first heard these words, I'll admit, they didn't make much sense to me. I was a child. As I grew; however, the more I fully understood their meaning. Grandma was a wise woman.

I think I particularly like this one because, as I have grown in my faith, I have learned there is a particular Biblical truth to it that I never realized until I was older. What grandma was trying to teach me all those years is love is unconditional. Choosing whether to like someone, isn't. I often say now, I am commanded to love you, not like you: there is a difference. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 beautifully defines love. I encourage you; however, not to stop there. Read Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:8 and John 15:13. These are just three more examples of the definition of true love. "Like" on the other hand, is subjective and is a personal choice. The Bible offers advice on the matter - Proverbs has many verses on the matter (13:20, 18:24, 16:28, 22:24-25, 12:26), Philippians 2:3, Galatians 6:2 and 1 Corinthians 15:33 are good points to start if you are not familiar with any. Based on this, I am confident when I share grandma's words of wisdom with others. I am even more confident when I have the opportunity to explain its meaning to those who may not understand it. The most important part, for me is, I live it out.

As I stated in my introductory post, I like to teach using quotes and I also like to make sure lessons are applicable to life. This brings me to the background for this post. At some point, you have or will be exposed to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. It is powerful! One thing that stood out to me was Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said...But I say unto you..." not once, not twice but six times. He said that six times in the same sermon! It got me thinking, "What are things that we have heard (and say) but not what Jesus said (or taught) or just not in the Bible?" So many people that listened to Jesus that day did not think they were doing anything wrong because they didn't know or because they had accepted what they had heard. In my journey, I found many things, some personal, but I found four (4) very common things we as Christians like to say that maybe we should reconsider.

YOU HAVE HEARD IT SAID, "God helps those who help themselves" but...

I have said this on many occasions but I never really paid attention to what it meant in Biblical context even though what I taught was in direct conflict. Actually, this is no where in the Bible. Some attribute it to ancient Greek tragedies and some to Ben Franklin. The only religious text to have something like this is the Quran which has text stating Allah will help one once they change themselves. The Bible; however, gives us hope and a promise for all:

Proverbs 28:26 - "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh

wisely, he shall be delivered." KJV

"Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are

kept safe." NIV

Isaiah 25:4 goes on to declare that God helps those who are utterly helpless. We know that we cannot help (trust ourselves) so who can help? We are told clearly who can. As we study on, we find out in Romans, Ephesians and 2 Corinthians just how much, why, how and so much more. Do not get me wrong, nowhere does it say God is going to do everything for you - just throw out a prayer, sit in your pjs, prop up your feet and watch things happen. No, that is not the help you are going to get. God is not going to have interviews lined up for you when you wake up tomorrow; He is not going to make 40lbs melt off as you gobble down another gallon of ice cream; He is not going to wipe out thousands of dollars of debt. You are going to have to do some things. Here is the amazing part: He is going to do what you can't do. He can't give you a job but he can guide your footsteps; He can give you endurance. He can't make the weight fall off but He can help break strongholds; He can give you strength to endure. He can't erase debt but He can provide the necessities; He can give you wisdom to make better decisions. When you decide to rely on Him and not yourself, things take a whole new meaning. The one big fallacy in this statement often lies in the fact people trying helping themselves before they take it to God which only leads to more problems, bigger issues and utter desperation. They are seeking His approval rather than His guidance - "Look what I did, aren't you proud? Bless me" rather than, "Lord, direct my paths, help me make the right decisions so I may glorify you and receive your blessings." There is a big difference. "In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. (Psalm 18:6, NIV) No where in the Bible does it state we must have strength or that we must put forth "x" amount of effort before God helps but it does state God will help us; He will do so and extend His grace based on our trust in Him. God helps those who can't help themselves.

YOU HAVE HEARD IT SAID, "God Won't Give You More Than You Can Handle" but...

Personally, I wish this was the case. When we are going through a rough season or someone we know is going through a rough season, often we will try to comfort them by using this phrase (or a version thereof.) This should not be confused with 1 Corinthians 10:13 which reads, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." KJV. The key word is "temptation." If you need proof of this, Look at Job, Gideon, Paul, Elijah, Joseph (Old Testament) are but a few. When you study and read of the magnitude, length and gravity of what they were up against, how could they possibly handle it? It wasn't a matter of temptation; they were all men of great faith. They found themselves in situations they could not handle; no one could. Through them, we get a glimpse of what we can do when we place our unwavering trust in God.

  • Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

  • I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. ~ Jerimiah 31:25 NIV

  • My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. ~John 10:29 NIV

  • Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9 NIV

  • Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~Matthew 19:26 NIV

There are many, many more verses, as these are just a few. We were made to fellowship with God. After the fall and we were expelled from the garden, life for man changed. One big thing was it wasn't perfect anymore. Sin was now a factor and freewill entered into the equation. Unfortunately, this introduced a factor into the equation man didn't realize - we would be faced with things we could not handle. Don't despair! God gave us Himself. When we turn to Him, we find what we need, when we need it, how we need it. It might not be what we think it should be - no, God never promised that. He promised rest; He promised to carry us: He promised not to abandon us; He promised to be with us; He promised to strengthen us; He promised we are His. He has never broken a promise. You will face more than you can handle but God won't let you face it alone if you turn to Him.

YOU HAVE HEARD IT SAID, "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin" but...

Above we covered the "loving others" part. Romans 3:23-24 tells us, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" KJV. As Christians, we are called to love everyone - and that means we love sinners because by default, we are all sinners. It is the second part that I have come to be hesitant about. We use this phrase when we are dealing/referring to someone we know (care about, work with, associate with, met, etc.) is engaging in or has been or is dealing with "sin." Yes? [I need to be frank here. I strongly caution you when you deal with the word "hate." For the sake of space in this post, I will not elaborate too much but I will say this, Aramaic text does not have an exact translation for "hate;" Greek and Latin do. You will find in studies references to linguistic tendencies and hyperbolic excess when dealing with the word "hate." I mention this because the use of it varies from translation to translation in so much as 87 in one translation, 211 in another, 127, 195 and 0 in another. This is very important to keep in mind when you consider the word "love" is used 311 in one, 551 in one, 421 in one and so forth. While the sentiment may indeed be the same, the gravity of the word itself and where it is used and by whom is critical to understand. Hate is not the opposite of love. As a Christian, I strongly encourage you to fully understand the gravity of "hate" in any form.] Scripture clearly tells us we are to avoid sin, turn away from sin, confess our sins, cleanse ourselves from sin, despise sin up to hating it. It addresses us to do this of ourselves.

if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person

gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. ~ Gal 6:1 (NIV)

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the

beam that is in thine own eye? ~Matthew 7:3 (KJV)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us

from all unrighteousness. ~1 John 1:9 (KJV)

There are more scriptures but let's run through this: we are all sinners. We are commanded to love everyone. Got it. We will run across people who are lost to and in sin. You cannot repent for them; you can gently help them - with the Holy Spirit's guidance - to the truth. You cannot hate their sin; hating sin in general, yes - their sin is theirs to carry. Before you go there, you are called to look inward at yourself. How can you possibly hate anything in another person, especially sin, when it exists in you? Basically, we have the opportunity to come face-to-face with the realization, "what sin of mine is most like the one I am condemning/judging this person for?" WOW! This now becomes an opportunity for you to step up and do what scripture tells you to do regarding sin in your life AND the greatest witnessing tool you have. Love the Sinner, Share His Grace.

YOU HAVE HEARD IT SAID, "Everything Happens For a Reason" but...

I am going to keep this one short. Romans 8:28 tells us, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (KJV.) This is telling us that we can have peace and confidence in knowing that because we love God and are called according to His purpose, God will work things together for our good. What it isn't telling us is that everything is happening for specific reasons. It takes faith in Him to go through life and know that no matter what we go through, no matter what we feel, no matter what we face, God knows; He understands; He is with us and He will ultimately work it out. Let's be honest, freewill kicked reason and logic out of the picture and placed a variable in the mix for us. It is truly comforting to say but it is not always true. I encourage you to explore this one; read, study and find the peace that comes when we embrace the fact that everything doesn't happen for a reason but God never surrenders His control!

Isn't this amazing? We like saying it but actually there is more hope, more encouragement, more truth, more faith, more power in "digging" just a little bit deeper - finding out what it "really" says - not just taking it at "face value" and just because it was always "done/said" that way means we keep doing it. He is there for you - you don't have to do it yourself or prove yourself - God helps those who cannot help themselves - go to Him! In life, you will face more than you can handle; God will NOT allow you to face it alone - call on Him! We are all sinners; aren't you in need of Grace? Ask Him! Sometimes, things happen and there is no rhyme nor reason but God never has nor will He ever surrender His control - He created you for and with a purpose! He wants a relationship with you. He wants you to know Him. He loves you so very much. Don't let another day pass and miss out on the greatest gift you can ever receive - the gift of Jesus Christ.

Don't miss next post in series, "It's Not Just a T-Shirt, It's My Life"

where we will focus on two (2) points.

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