Last night Cara and I were relaxing together, watching a favorite Hulu series, and the commercials were so LOUD!! I had to grab the remote and press the mute button. Ahh. Relief.
We need to learn how to do this with other noise. Like the voice of excuses we listen to. They convince us not to act, not to help, not to love, and not to serve others.
Here are 7 excuses not to help others, and why they aren’t true—why you need to press the mute button and silence this noise. When God gives you an opportunity to make a difference, here is what you might hear yourself say to yourself:
1.) “I’m not qualified to do this.” Where God guides, God provides. Now, if a person needs you to perform brain surgery, well, no. But when was the last time someone asked you to do that (sorry, if you’re a brain surgeon, this isn’t helpful for you). Usually, we assign ourselves way too much responsibility when a simple act of service to others will make a huge difference.
2.) “I don’t have time for this.” You have some time. A little time. So focus that time. Brainstorm what you could do for a person in 20 minutes. Write a note of encouragement. Send a text message. Say a prayer. Resource them with a Bible verse or devotion book. Share an experience.
3.) “I won’t like this. It makes me uncomfortable.” I took a blind man to a baseball game once. I didn’t really want to. Awkward, right? He made me so comfortable. He joked and joked about not being able to see. And guess what happened? I learned about blindness, and I learned a whole lot about baseball because he was a huge fan. He could actually tell me what was happening by the sounds of the ball hitting a glove, or the crowd reaction, or the timing of a pitch. Amazing! It’s one of those vivid, special memories I have and I didn’t have a clue how to do it right.
4.) “I can’t relate to that person and their issues.” Maybe not, but relating isn’t always necessary. Caring is. Be a voice of love and encouragement for them. And if you can’t relate, just ask some questions. “Why is buying a motorcycle so important for you? What’s it like being one of eight children? As a black family, how difficult is it living in Pflugerville?”
5.) “I struggle with the same stuff, so how can I help?” A hearty “me too” can help someone understand that their problem isn’t unique to them, and isn’t the first time it’s ever happened in the history of the world, and isn’t a shocker to God who has seen it before and can help.
6.) “I don’t agree with what they’re doing.” Your opinion (or their opinion) isn’t the most important thing. God’s truth is. There’s no harm in listening to their opinion, letting them explain, and asking questions about it. Then ask their permission to share what you’ve found to be true, and share the truth.
7.) “My insecurity and fear of failure will be too obvious.” Maybe so, but it doesn’t have to be. Process and pray through this. Remind yourself of what God can do. It’s not all on your shoulders. You have a big God with big plans.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion … value others” (Philippians 2:1,3).
Jesus Christ gives you everything you need in order to love, serve and help others. Go share it!
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, too often excuses keep me from helping others. Your true promises equip me to act. Lead me to those I can bless today, and let me do a little something that makes a big difference. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Take 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes. Start a timer. Now focus. Which two of the seven excuses are the loudest for you? Meditate on the answers. How will you use today’s blog to help you press the mute button?