Stuff Christians Need to Stop Saying #8

February 24, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

Do you ever wonder if the producer of a series is just phoning it in?  We aren’t even trying anymore.  We just want something out there to see if people will be a part.  For example, at what point did the Police Academy people stop caring?  Would it surprise anyone that there were 7 Police Academy movies and then a TV series?  At what point did you lose track?  (Side note: Do you think Sharon Stone considers P.A. 4 to be her “big break”?)  At what point were the producers just saying, “Get that big football player, the tall lady from Laverne and Shirley, the crazy dude who likes guns, the little guy from SNL, and that dude that makes the funny noises and let’s go?” (For heavens sake, even Bobcat Goldthwait quit after the 4th)

We at never stop caring. (cue the music)

Set-up: Someone needs some kind of assistance from you personally or from the church.  They don’t seem to be “doing enough” to make their situation better.  They are looking for advice or help.

Response: God helps those who help themselves.

Attention Everyone.  Yes, all four of you who are reading this.  That is not in the Bible.  Repeat, that is not in the Bible.  Even if you disagree with everything else that is said here, at least stop saying, “You know the Bible says, God helps those who help themselves.”  You may still believe it to be true, but it is not, is not, is not in the Bible.

Anywho, some may think that this is a direct contradiction to the early SCNTSS #2, Let Go and Let God. Cloften, either we need to let go and let God do it or we have to realize that we’ve got to help ourselves and then God will help us.  It’s either/or.  However, if there is a theme to SCNTSS, it is we need to stop having an overly-simplistic approach to our faith and recognize that walking with God is more complex than any bumper sticker or series of bumper stickers that may be out there.

The Bible makes it pretty clear that the best help that God offers comes when we cannot help ourselves:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  Ephesians 2:4-5

It doesn’t get much more helpless than “powerless” and “dead.”  God loved us not because of the initiative that we took toward him.  God loved us in spite of the fact that we were powerless and helpless.  Then the charge that God gives us is to love people as we have been loved.  We don’t love, serve and help people after they have done everything that they can do.  We love and serve all people, regardless.  The groups of people, widows and orphans and aliens, that seem to be most on God’s heart were the helpless in the society.  Over and over again, God calls on us to love and help them, because they are helpless.

If I were going to wait for the discussion, someone would say, but what about. . .? Then they would construct a scenario about someone begging for money and wanting a free handout.  They then take that money and buy drugs and then they come back saying that want more for milk for their baby.  He could work, but he doesn’t.  What about that?

Help that person.  Love that person.  Serve that person.  Do not withhold your support until they meet your arbitrary standard of them “helping themselves.”  Does that mean you give in to every request? No, but you are obligated to love, serve and help them.  It’s the same way we typically parent.  We don’t meet every request they have on their terms, but we work to meet every need they have.  Sometimes we need to encourage them to work, take initiative, etc.  But still that is you helping, before they are helping themselves.

We do not want to hold people to a higher standard than God holds us.  There are many relevant passages that speak against that including, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”  (Don’t you love how some verses can only be quoted KJV).  However, by the time we get to #12, you won’t be allowed to misuse that phrase either,even though it is in the Bible.  Well, especially because it is in the Bible.


10 Responses to “Stuff Christians Need to Stop Saying #8”
  1. Brado says:

    FINALLY a shout-out to “Police Academy”!

  2. Megan says:

    I’m curious where this phrase came from. It’s terribly humanistic. It enforces the boot-strap Christianity that is so prevalent in our culture (that we do the work of our salvation, with God’s help of course, and that we’ve earned it by our hard work). I can hardly imagine any message more damaging to the gospel than that we can earn God’s gift.

    Have you addressed the “I believe everything happens for a reason” phrase yet? I hope you do because I’d really love to read that one too.

  3. Chris says:

    I think it was Ben Franklin who originally said that….it’s also reported that he said “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”- but I’ve read that that one is actually a misquote…

  4. Adam of Team Synergy says:

    Anatomy of this series:

    Paragraph 1: “Oh, no we’re doing it again.” Charlie riffs on 80s pop culture references and pokes the fun at crappy sequels to the sound of pleasant internet golf clap from the Fellowship gallery. Then he makes some point about how this series has got to be getting old and then abruptly transitions to the point.

    Insert: said phrase Christians need to stop saying

    Following paragraphs: That’s not in the Bible. Jesus loves everybody and we should too.

    Ending Tag: leave room for another sequel.

    Charlie, it’s like an episode of House… very formulaic. But guess what… I love House. Keep ‘em coming boss.

  5. cloften says:




  6. Judy Best says:

    I know that statement isn’t true, but loving, serving, and helping, whether it’s our kids or someone in need, sometimes means pointing them in the right direction and getting them started in that direction. It doesn’t always mean doing or giving what’s asked … and that is the same way God loves us many times.

  7. El Davo Grande says:

    Yeah, I get what you’re saying, but what about how the Bible says that homeless dudes are going to only buy whiskey and we shouldn’t give them anything but a Bible tract? I think it’s the verse right after the one explaining not giving your waiter/waitress a gratuity more than 10% because that’s how much a tithe is, so you shouldn’t give them more than you give God. Plus, you should give them a Bible tract that looks like money to show them how Christians care.

  8. Aaron Reddin says:

    I can’t take credit for this, nor can I give it because I forgot where it came from. But you can see this statement clearly all through the gospels.

    “If people aren’t taking advantage of you, then you probably aren’t living like Jesus.”

    Think about how many people rushed him to have their personal, practical, and immediate needs met.

    They weren’t screaming, “Hey! There’s the dude with living water!”

    They said things like, “If I could just touch the hem of his garment”

    It was about them. Their needs. How could we think that Jesus didn’t know this? Yet, he gave and healed abundantly. No prerequisites. No applications. Just, “here you go”.

  9. Faye says:

    @El Davo – You ROCK! If someone is going to stiff a server, PLEASE don’t let them even begin to think you’re a follower of Christ! I haven’t done it in awhile, but I used to quite frequently place a tract on the table that started with “Thank you” and would put about a 25% to 30% tip in it. I have been a server and have friends who do that for a living. People don’t realize they make about $2.25 per hour and their tips are supposed to make up the rest of the minimum wage.

    And the guy buying whiskey — that’s on him, man! I’m just giving like Jesus said to. Let him answer for what he did with it.

    Charlie, thank you! I do agree with @Judy Best — we sometimes show them how to find the Truth, we guide them to the resources, we don’t become the resource. But we have to do it with love, mercy and grace. And the thing is, we can’t just stop because they don’t get it. We just open up and give again. And again.

    One warning I would give, though — even Jesus took time out to be refilled, refueled and stay connected to the Father. If HE had to do that in order to minister to people, I need to do it more. A lot more.

  10. Zach says:


    I’m a huge fan of your band and you just played my favorite song.


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