I have some sad news to report; B2Y is not God. That is right, I am not God and thus I cannot save you. Do you know what else? YOU are not God either. That means you cannot save me.
Back 30 years ago when I was actively serving as a minister I kept getting myself into situations which ended up not being beneficial for me or those involved. Time and again I was reprimanded for what would happen and after giving my side of the story, would be reminded that I was not God. Sometimes I saw the light and could see how I had crossed the line from just wanting to help to trying to be God. Other times my eyes were blinded by the intense desire to "save" someone.
When we look at all the Redemptive names for Jehovah (or Yahweh) in the Old Testament, what we see is not only God in His relationship to us but the very things we cannot allow ourselves to try and become for others in our service to them. Here is a quick reminder of the 14 predominant Redemptive names for God:
Jehovah-Jireh - The Lord will provide-Genesis 22:14
Jehovah-Rapha - The Lord that heals-Exodus 15:26
Jehovah-Nissi - The Lord my Banner-Exodus 17:15
Jehovah-Kanna - The Lord who is jealous-Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 5:9
Jehovah-Mekaddeskum - The Lord who sanctifies-Exodus 31:13; Leviticus 20:8
Jehovah-Shalom - The Lord our Peace-Judges 6:24
Jehovah-Shaphat - The Lord is Judge-Judges 11:27
Jehovah-Saboath - The Lord of Hosts-1 Samuel 1:3; Psalm 24:10; 84:1,3
Jehovah-Elyon - The Lord Most High-Psalm 7:17
Jehovah-Raah (or Roi) - The Lord my Shepherd-Psalm 23:1
Jehovah-Hosenu - The Lord our Maker-Psalm 95:6
Jehovah-Gibbor - The Lord is Mighty-Isaiah 42:13
Jehovah-Tsidkenu - The Lord our Righteousness-Jeremiah 23:6
Jehovah-Shammah - The Lord is There or Ever present-Ezekiel 48:35
With each of the qualities of God in relation to His people it must be understood that these belong to God and God alone. If reserve these things for God and not try to be these things ourselves, we can succeed in not falling into the trap of trying to be God or His Savior for others.
Although we can work, budget our money and save, it is still God who is our PROVIDER. When we try to take over His job and start providing for others under the guise of helping them, that is when we start walking a very fine line between genuine love and trying to do God's job.
Although leaders of God's people are called Shepherds, it is only God who is The Great Shepherd. We may do what we can to watch over and protect the flock we oversee, but it is ultimately God who is responsible for the safety, well being and provision of the flock.
One of the areas I constantly found myself in hot water concerning was trying to be everywhere all at once doing everything for people. I see this same thing today with many parents who spend every waking minute of the day catering to the needs and whims of their children. Back in my day this was called SPOILING a child. Today it is called being a good parent. In many cases it is really just parents trying to play God to their kids.
So many times when we see a brother or sister in Christ struggling with a situation or obviously off the road and heading for the ditch we feel it is job to drop everything and either yell at them or try to, with our meager strength, pull the car out of the ditch. In reality, many times all we can do is exhort, encourage, comfort, reprove and OFFER our assistance and then wait.
Of all the things I am most thankful my parents did for me, the greatest is that they let me grow into maturity instead of protecting and sheltering me from the real world. I am thankful they gave me enough rope to go out and discover life (both good and bad), but not so much rope so as to hang myself. As painful as I know it must have been for them at times to see me heading over to that hot stove to touch it, they usually let me find out for myself that stoves are hot. At the same time I am thankful they didn't allow me to jump into a campfire to see if it was hot.
As much as at times we want to yell and scream at people who we feel are off base or getting ready to drive off a cliff; many times our job is not to try and be the provider, protector, director or savior. No, our job is to commit our friends, children and spouses to the Lord and beseech HIM to intercede on their behalf. This is, after all, the very essence of supplication and intercessory prayer.
There are not too many people who like "buttinskies" (as we used to call them). These are people who feel they must get into every detail of another person's life and business in the name of genuine concern. Personally, I don't want someone prowling around my house, looking into closets, opening cabinets and otherwise feeling it is allowable to turn the spotlight on me to find the dirt in my life.
No, I much rather someone just pray for me that God will work in my heart and open my eyes to see the light if need be. I would much rather someone be a true minister and servant OF God than constantly trying to BE God.
"So many times when we see a brother or sister in Christ struggling with a situation or obviously off the road and heading for the ditch we feel it is job to drop everything and either yell at them or try to, with our meager strength, pull the car out of the ditch. In reality, many times all we can do is exhort, encourage, comfort, reprove and OFFER our assistance and then wait."
How often we forget that we are not called to be a "savior" rather we are called to be witnesses! The past couple of years, in many respects, have been my most difficult ones, physically speaking. During this time, God has blessed me with a handful of people who are very precious friends.
They have, as I like to say, lifted up my arms to God when I have grown too weary to hold them up on my own. These are the people who "do life with me as we all do life with God!"
I have had others who have "offered" to but I have declined their assistance. Do you want to know why? Instead of lending me their shoulder to lean on... and often cry on when I got tired, instead of holding my hand and standing beside me in the darkness and serving as a constant reminder to me of God's great and unfailing love and care, they would preach at me and seek to "save" me. They do not want to do life with me, they want to be a savior.
I have a Savior, Jesus Christ and we must NEVER attempt to put someone else in His place nor must we attempt to put ourselves in His place in the lives of others!
about a year ago i knew a struggling sister, who felt that she couldn't live without a relationship. she would do things out of christian character for this need including drinking. everyone at her job would talk bad about her behind her back. and say stuff like ( someday shes gonna get her kids taken away ). but no one was ever really truly concerned, half the time it seemed that the problems in her life were just entertainment for a long work day.
she would come to me a lot and talk all about her need to be with someone, or the recent fight she got into. you could see that she was simply broken and searching, even though she believed in god, she still tried to fill the emptiness with what the world offered her. i would drop hints here and there, but generally i wouldn't day anything either. i just assumed she wouldn't listen anyway.
well one day i found out that she had gotten arrested in front of her kids for a DUI while her children were in the car and her children got
taken away. i felt terrible, not just for her situation, but i felt terrible for all the opportunities missed where i could have shown my true concern for her and the life she was living. everyone else was happy this happened to her and said stuff like ( well good, that's what she gets ). i felt though that when the day came that she cleaned up her life, she would have to look back on those moments for the rest of her life with deep guilt and shame. and though when someone is living a life that is headed towards disaster it is their own fault and are asking for those repercussions, who would want anyone to live like that.
feeling terrible that i didn't at least care for her enough to express my concerns for her, i prayed that she be given another chance, and that god give me another chance to show her that i cared and at least try to tell her that she needed to turn towards god. well somehow all the charges got dropped and she got her kids back within that week. so when she called me i told her how i felt about it and that i didn't want to see her go so far as to do something she will be ashamed of or regret. and that she could do better than that and she needed to rely on god. then i left it at that. really the rest is up to her and god. there was nothing else i could do but pray. now i dont know what happened to her afterward. i haven't heard from her or of her since.
ultimately i could not do anything to save her no matter how much i felt for her, though it would still be wrong for me not to say anything at all. i felt she needed to know that not everyone who had lectured her or bad mouthed her or said anything, were just being judgmental. and some people do care about what really is going on. as brothers and sisters in Christ we do need each other. that is what the fellowship is for. but we need god first, for without him there would be no fellowship. i know from personal experiences, i would try to go to the pastor with a problem at the time, and would never get the help or answer i was looking for, only to get the answer and help from god later on. through that experience i learned that it is truly god alone who has all the answers and the power. besides, sometimes when people try to save or but in, their own opinions and feelings often of a more worldly nature can get in the way that may not be quite as helpful.
We all need to remember that we are inspired by God to minister His grace and love in the world. Liberal guilt is no substitue to the wonder of God the Holy Spirit inspiring and motivating followers to bring His healing and comforting power into each life on Earth.
Too many times we condemn others. Even Jesus said He did not come into the world to condemn us but to save us. So, true. We are not God. If we ever confront sin in another person we must use the Biblical instructions for doing so.
2 Timothy 2:24-25
The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged.
With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the world; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Temptation comes in many forms, but the biggest temptation when being in the position of confronting someone on sin is to be come arrogant
So this is a timely message and applies to one and all, just as your first few sentences state.
Very good blog!