Posts tagged ‘Help’

Take Your Sin to the Right Place

One of the most tragic stories in Scripture is that of Judas Iscariot – the one who betrayed Jesus into the hands of His enemies and, ultimately, His executioners for a pitiful pittance of 30 pieces of silver. Shortly after Judas leads the Jewish religious leaders to Jesus so they can arrest Him, he is overwhelmed by the anguish of his guilt:

When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3-5)

Judas’ actions against Jesus are treacherous and wicked. But this does not make his end any less tragic.

Part of what makes Judas’ end so devastating is that he understood the gravity of his actions and began looking for a path to redemption. He rushed back to the ones who had paid him the paltry sum of silver and confessed:

“I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

But the religious leaders only lobbed his sin right back on him.

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” (Matthew 27:4).

“That’s your responsibility.” These are the most damning words anyone can speak to any sinner. They remove every hope for redemption, restoration, or reconciliation. This is why it is so important that we not only feel remorse over our sin, but take our sin to the right person.

I have often wondered what would have happened if Judas would have taken his confession to Jesus. How would Jesus have responded? Here’s my guess:

“Judas, you mean the world to Me. I’ll take your sin to the very place to which you betrayed Me. But it is no longer your responsibility.”

Are you overwhelmed by remorse, guilt, or shame? Take it to Jesus – no matter what it is. He will take it from you and, in exchange, give you freedom, forgiveness, and righteousness.

One more thing: if you, like Judas, struggle, for whatever reason, with thoughts of taking your own life, seek help. Whatever it is that is leading you into these thoughts, Jesus wants more for you. Jesus wants life for you. He died so that you can live.

September 19, 2022 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

Help Needed

Moses had gotten himself in too deep. As he and the children of Israel were traveling through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, he had not only taken on the role of leader, but of judge:

Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. (Exodus 18:13)

The Israelites were going a bit stir crazy in the wilderness, and they were getting into so many disagreements and disputes with each other that Moses was spending all day trying to arbitrate their altercations. He had time for nothing else.

When Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, comes to visit his son-in-law, he is impressed by what God has done for Israel, but is concerned over what Moses is doing with Israel. He says to Moses:

What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. (Exodus 18:17-18)

Jethro knows that Moses needs help. He cannot judge alone.

Jethro’s words hearken back to God’s words when He saw that the first man He created, Adam, had no one to help him through and with life:

It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18)

So, God created Eve.

In a world where it is noble to be a self-made person and self-sufficiency rules, Jethro reminds us that our limits are blessings. We cannot do it all. We need help. Contrary to our cultural myths of independence and autonomy, it is not good for us to be alone and to try to carry every burden alone.

We don’t always like to hear this, because our limits humble us. Sometimes, we’d prefer to live under a delusion that we are, if not theoretically and theologically, at least functionally omnipotent. But our limits are ultimately meant to bless us. Because they create opportunities for us to form relationships with others who we need – and who need us.

Who do you need to ask for help? The help you ask for may just be the start of a beautiful friendship that you need. And that is good.

April 11, 2022 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

A March for Life

This past Friday was the 48th annual March for Life. As with many other events, this year’s march looked different from every previous year. It was held virtually in response to the continued spread of COVID-19. The virtual nature of the march, however, did not mute its message. Since abortion was legalized in 1973, an estimated 62 million babies have been lost. And though the number of abortions is going down overall, there have been some pockets of increases.

The fierce fights over abortion show no sign of abating. Sadly, the topic has often been treated more as ammunition in a culture war instead of a pressing moral question with life and death consequences. So many pay a hefty price each time an abortion is performed.

First, there is a baby who pays the price of his or her very life. The heartbeat of a child in utero can usually be detected between the third and fourth week of development. This means that any abortion performed after this stops a beating heart. Scientifically, there is a broad consensus that the life of a human organism begins even earlier – right at conception. In a recent study at the University of Chicago, 95 percent of biologists surveyed, many of whom self-identified as pro-choice, agreed that life begins at fertilization. Many Christians believe that life begins at conception because, Scripturally, life is celebrated and sacralized throughout a child’s development in utero. As the Psalmist says to God about his own creation and gestation:

You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Second, there is the mother who pays a price. For every high profile incident of people celebrating abortion, there are other instances of women who struggle with regret or outright emotional trauma. And these struggles can present themselves long after the event – often 10 to 15 years later. The price of a broken or guilt-ridden heart cannot and must not be overlooked.

Third, low-income communities pay a price. Half of all women who get abortions live below the poverty line, and 75 percent of women who get abortions are low-income. Many of these women choose to abort because they know they will be single mothers if they carry their babies to term and they are scared that they will not have the resources or support needed to raise a child. Their decision to abort, then, is less of a freely-willed choice and more of a perilous predicament that forces the hands of already hurting women.

We must count the cost of abortion. We must stand up for those who bear the burden of abortion. We can stand up for children in utero and advocate for their lives. We can stand up for women who struggle and lovingly present alternate ways forward if they are considering an abortion or offer grace and support to those who are struggling with the decision they made to have an abortion. We must stand up for impoverished communities by promoting the value of families, by holding men who would run from their responsibilities as fathers accountable, and by offering what we can in the way of financial resources, friendships, and modeling to demonstrate different and more hopeful paths forward for at-risk women who become pregnant.

For me, abortion is personal. I have two children because of the choice of two incredible women to put their babies up for adoption. I have a family because two women chose life. To them, I offer a teary-eyed “thank you.” Your choice for life changed my life. And the chain can continue. More choices for life can change more lives.

What a great choice to make.

February 1, 2021 at 5:15 am 1 comment

Help After Hurricane Laura

When Hurricane Laura slammed into the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast border, it cut a path of destruction that will take years to undo. The storm surge reached nine feet in some places. Sustained wind speeds peaked at 150 miles per hour, making it a Category 4 hurricane and tying the record for the strongest winds of any hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana. The scenes of devastation have been hard to look at. So many homes have been ruined. So many communities have been crushed. And even some lives have been lost.

The power of a storm like Laura reminds us of two things. First, it reminds us of the power we don’t have. We don’t have the power to stop a storm like this. We don’t even really have the power to fully prepare for a storm like this. But second, a storm like Laura also serves as a testament to the power we do have. We do have the power to help each other in times of crisis. We do have the power to love each other through seasons of pain.

And, as has been the case after so many other hurricanes, stories of those who have stepped up to help are already emerging – like that of Leonard Harrison, a volunteer with the Cajun Navy, who, while others were fleeing from the storm, drove 14 hours from Wilmington, North Carolina in his F-250, which he calls “Goliath,” to help with water rescues. He wound up rescuing 28 people from perilous high waters. He was using the power he had to help people in need.

While we do not have power over storms, God does. As the Psalmist reminds us:

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. (Psalm 107:29)

But for all the power we don’t have over storms, we must keep in mind that we do have power after storms. We do have the power to love each other, like Leonard Harrison did. And this power has been given to us by God. As one of Jesus’ followers, John, writes:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. (1 John 4:7)

God has given us the power of His love so we can love each other. As we begin the process of cleaning up from Laura, now is the time to use the power God has given us instead of complaining about the power He hasn’t.

The Gulf Coast is counting on us.

To donate to Hurricane Laura relief, click here.

August 31, 2020 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

ABC Extra – Team Lifting

A few months back, I purchased a treadmill for my wife.  The one we previously owned had worn out and it was time for a newer, more powerful, more advanced model.  I was very happy with the deal I received on the treadmill.  I got it for about 50 percent off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price!  As I was paying for the treadmill, the customer service representative asked me, “Would you like to pay an additional $100 to have the treadmill delivered and set up?”  I didn’t even have to think about it:  “$100?  No thank you, I’ll pass.”

A couple of days later, I returned to the store with my truck and a buddy to pick up the treadmill.  It was going to be simple.  We would load the treadmill in the bed of my truck, haul it home, set it up, and be done.  The plan was perfect.  That is, the plan was perfect until we tried to actually pick up the treadmill.  It had to weigh 1,000 pounds!  Thankfully, a couple of guys from the sporting goods store came out to help us.  When we finally got it into the bed of my truck and drove it back to my house, we took it out of the box, piece by piece, to haul inside.   After a whole lot of sweat and an aching back, I decided I should have paid the $100.

As I was trying, without success, to lug the huge and heavy box out of the sporting goods store to the bed of my truck, I noticed an icon the box’s side.  It had two people picking up a hug box with these words:  “TEAM LIFT for your safety.”  When I saw the icon, I thought to myself, “Would anyone even think of trying to pick this box up by himself?”

In Luke 10:38-42, we meet two sisters:  Martha and Mary.  These sisters could not be any more different.  Jesus and His twelve disciples are joining the sisters at their house for a supper, and Martha wants to make sure everything is just perfect for her guests.  And so she goes about preparing a lavish feast.  But with her recipe books strewn across the kitchen, pots and pans boiling over on the stove, and flour flung across the floor, Martha’s meal becomes more than she can bear.  She need someone with whom she can “team lift” in preparing.  But Mary, her sister, seems unable or, worse yet, unwilling to help.  When Jesus and His disciples arrive, Mary simply sits at Jesus’ feet, listening intently to what He says.  Finally, in exasperation, Martha complains to her Lord:  “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me” (Luke 10:40)!  The Greek word for “help” is synantilambanomai.  This one word is actually a compound word made up of the words:  synanti, meaning “with,” or “corresponding to,” and lambanomai, meaning “to take up,” or “to lift.”  Thus, when Martha asks for her sister’s help, she is asking her to do some “team lifting.”

Now surely, Jesus should empathize with Martha’s plight.  After all, her hard work could break her back!  But Jesus’ response to Martha is altogether surprising if not even offensive:  “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).  Jesus will not send Mary to “team lift” with her sister.  Because finally, Martha doesn’t need a team lifter, Martha needs Jesus.  Martha needs to learn from Jesus, like Mary.  Martha needs to follow Jesus, like Mary.  And Martha needs to rest in Jesus, like Mary.

Be it in friendships between children or marriages between adults, I often hear people complain that a partner in a relationship is not “pulling their weight.”  These people explain that they are left all by themselves to do the heavy lifting of a relationship.  Though it is true that friends and spouses certainly ought to help each other, before you complain that another person is not pulling their weight, perhaps you should first go to Jesus.  Perhaps you should ask Him to heal and reconcile your relationship.  Perhaps you should ask Him to give you the strength needed to maneuver your way through what can sometimes be complex and weighty relationships.  Because before you need someone to “team lift” with you, you need Jesus.  Because Jesus doesn’t just help you with some of your burden takes your burden and nails it to His cross.  So find your strength – and your rest – in Him.

Want to learn more? Go to
www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com
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June 27, 2011 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


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