I have written quite a bit about my life before salvation. I spent a great many years “on the wrong side of the tracks”. Even with that as my mindset, my heart was always ready to help others. Over the years, my wife & I, in spite of my selfish, angry, hateful self; have always been blessed enough to help others out. We did this in many ways, outreach and charitable giving are just a couple. I always did these things for selfish reasons though, never because it was my blessing as a son of God to help others.
I think one of the the most significant and relevant ways my wife and I helped others; was that we have let many people live with us during difficult times in their lives. Some were family, some were friends, and some were friends who became family. Some stayed with us for a summer, some stayed with us for a few years. We did this because we enjoyed helping others, but I seemed to always find a way to make the situation benefit me. Since I have accepted Christ as my Savior, my heart has undergone some drastic changes. Until that time, I was always expecting payback or some sort of reimbursement for our help to others, especially when I could get no direct benefit from their presence in our home. Like I said, I always wanted to benefit from our generosity.
Now I celebrate my ability to help others when I can, with no ulterior motive. The resentment I felt for the people we have helped but received no benefit from, has melted away. I now understand that every breath I take is a gift from God, and for me to be selfish or expect payback from anyone for my generosity is not only unreasonable, but ungodly. I don’t know if it is because God has humbled me or if because my wife and I are no longer able to help others, but my mentality and my heart has changed. Since my injury (and subsequent salvation), I have been unable to work, however, God has always provided us with enough to meet our needs. God is so awesome, He even occasionally exceeds our needs. None the less, due to a drastic reduction in household income, we struggle more than thrive. It is funny though, because of our hearts for God, the struggles seem small and manageable. I know that He will meet our needs as long as we are faithful to Him.
I am writing all this because recently I was contacted by one of the previous tenants who stayed in our home. In reality, I was less than “good” to this particular tenant. Someone who based on their past experience with me, has every right to punch me in the nose. None the less, this person contacted me and said they had been following my blog and wanted to help. They told me that they knew times were tough financially and they were now in a position to help me like we helped them. I was flabbergasted. In my mind, I am so undeserving of this person’s help because of my treatment of them, that at first I didn’t understand. I prayed and discussed this with my wife for some time. Finally, I heard God tell me that His love for me is boundless and sometimes letting others bless you, is His way of blessing them. Wow! God is so amazing that while he worked on me, He was also working on someone I had wronged. This person told me that they too had learned about the love of God and wanted to help us. Not so much because we helped this individual, but because God had blessed this individual. Ultimately, my wife and I graciously accepted the offer of assistance and today I am filled with love, admiration, and respect for this person. This person reached out to me to show me God’s love. How awesome is God!
Jesus talks about this in Luke 6:33-35 (NLT):
33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
Trust God – He is good!
MercyMe has a song called Flawless. One part of the song lyrics is: No matter the bumps, No matter the bruises. No matter the scars, Still the truth is, The cross has made –
The cross has made you flawless. No matter the hurt, Or how deep the wound is; No matter the pain, Still the truth is The cross has made – The cross has made you flawless!
God has sent His son Jesus for us. Jesus died on the cross for us. Leave your bumps, bruises, scars, hurts, wounds, and pain at His cross. He will bring you peace and amazing, unbelievable things.
Forgive yourself and others – God does!