We tend to play favorites. We know all about God’s amazing grace. We are thankful for it and we love that God gives it abundantly. God’s grace saves us, covers us and sustains us. It is more than sufficient for all that we face in this life. Then, why do we choose to be stingy with grace? Why do we only want to extend grace when we think someone has done enough to deserve it? We judge them by what we believe are circumstances that they brought upon themselves. They caused the mess that they are in, so why should we help them? Why should we have empathy or show concern for their situation?
We forget about the messes we have caused and the mistakes we have made. We want grace for ourselves but we are not willing to give it so freely to others. We need a justifiable reason to extend grace. We feel it needs to be earned, not for ourselves, just for others, you know the ones that keep messing up. They just can’t seem to get it right, so why should we help them? They are hopeless!
Is that what God says? Is anyone hopeless in the eyes of our loving, compassionate Father? No one is hopeless, not a single one!
There are times we do need to discern whether we are actually helping or enabling. Not long ago a friend suggested that I might be enabling someone. I did not think that I was but I wasn’t sure. I always take these things to the Lord and ask Him to reveal to me anything that I need to address in my life that is not pleasing to Him. I ask Him to help me see the truth according to His Word. Sometimes we may not be able to see it for ourselves. I know that I have had a tendency to be an enabler in certain situations in the past. However, in this particular situation it became clear to me that this was not the case.
God brought many scripture verses to mind during my time of communion with Him. These verses confirmed that my assistance was not a hindrance but exactly what He wanted me to do according to His Word. These verses were a reminder that as followers of Christ, we are to love one another and by this others will know that we are His disciples (John 13:35). We are to put our faith to action. Faith is an action word. Faith is not merely words but our good deeds (James 2:14-17). We care for our brothers and sisters in need and God moves mightily in our midst.
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:45-47
There is a vast difference between helping and enabling. The clearest way to distinguish the two is that helping someone is doing something for them that they are unable to do for themselves. Enabling is doing something for someone that they can and should be doing for themselves. God has called His people to be helpers. He has called us to help those in need, to love one another and carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:10).
Being a follower of Christ means doing what He would do. It means doing the hard things, the counter-cultural things. It means giving our time, talent and treasure sacrificially. It means going out of our way to help a brother or sister in need without expecting anything in return.
In this beautiful season of Advent, as we celebrate the arrival and the coming return of our Lord Jesus Christ, may we remember the nature of our Savior and the reason He came. May we remember that our Lord was born into this world to dwell among us in human form. Love came down. True love, unconditional love, everlasting love came down and dwelt among us. Love that never leaves us nor forsakes us, that never fails came down in human form to show us what love really looks like. Love does not discriminate. Love shows no favoritism. Love serves with gentleness and humility. Love comforts, heals and restores. Love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). Our God is love. Emmanuel, God with us. His love is always with us and nothing can separate us from it. Therefore, out of the love we are freely given, let us love as Jesus does.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 Corinthians 4:7-11
Heavenly Father, we magnify your name! We exalt you! Thank you for the greatest gift ever given in Jesus Christ our Savior. Thank you that we are saved by grace through faith alone. Let us not take it for granted or be stingy with our grace towards others. Help us to love without expecting anything in return, to humbly serve without expecting others to earn our help. May we always remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and keep that at the forefront of our minds so that we love and serve sacrificially. May there be less of us and more of you every day! Search us, Lord and create in us a pure heart and a steadfast spirit within us. Search us and see if there is any offensive way in us and lead us in the way everlasting. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen and Amen.l
Written by Lanette Black, IWM Board Secretary