As a Christian I am often surprised at how we often say things that we don’t mean, or how we blame God for the things we don’t do—and should—- or do, and should not. People will say “I was led by God….”, or “well I prayed about this and decided to do nothing”, etc. I know that we should pray about all things and that God does lead us to make decisions that often are not pleasing or acceptable to others. Yes, yes, but what about the times we are able to do a good thing and choose not to, for whatever reason, and then blame God?
“I’ll pray about it and get back to you”, is one of the euphemisms I wish that people would not use unless that is truly what they are going to do. What they usually mean to say is, “no”, but for some reason they are embarrassed or afraid to say, “no”, so they hide behind prayer.
There are things we should never commit to or do without prayer, of course, (marriage, a new job, casting our votes, etc) but at other times, we simply do not need to pray—we need to act! Peter, Paul, Barnabas and John did not have a prayer meeting before helping a crippled or demon possessed person—-the acted and the good things followed. Yes, what they did included prayer, but the prayer for healing was the action required. They did not debate or ask God if they should pray for the person to be healed—-they prayed that the person would be healed.
It seems omni-obvious that if we are able and our “help” does not end up “hindering”, we should help others when they request help! According to Jesus it is impossible to love God and at the same time cling to money or possessions—-particularly when we see someone in need. Something is wrong with our religion and relationship with Jesus, according to James, when we replace “action” with “I am praying for you.” The suggestion that we don’t want to “enable” someone or “stop God from having His way in someone’s life” has merit, if those are in fact the reasons we don’t help someone. But it seems to me that most of time, when folks ask for help and we for whatever the reason , we do not want to help them, the most “Christian” thing to do is to gently, carefully and in love, tell them “no” and offer why we don’t want to help them!
The second worse thing to do is to ignore the request, the next worse is to lie about it, but the absolute worse thing to do, is to blame God, when God had nothing to do with our lack of compassion or generosity! Failing to help someone in need, when we are fully able, when the need is genuine, and when God has clearly not discouraged us from doing so, is to deny the help if Jesus Himself were requesting it. To not help, when we can, is to deny Christ’s true identity within us and commit the sin of omission.
…I was hungry and you did not feed me…..