2013-10-01 - True or False? A Little of Both
Erroneous Beliefs about The Bible, Part 3
In November 2011, Jay Carney, President Obamas Press Secretary, said that the Bible teaches us The Lord helps those who help themselves. Mr. Carney isnt alone in that belief; however, it is inaccurate. (Side note: It is interesting that this embarrassing mistake didnt garner nearly as much press coverage as those of past administrations, but thats another story.)
The Bible does teach us that we are each to do our own part. In fact, there are strong words prohibiting laziness, and the Bible does teach that Christians should not support those who are able to work, but who refuse to do so. (See 2 Thessalonians 3:10.)
However, this concept can be taken too far. Sometimes people are debilitated by either physical, spiritual or emotional distress or illness, and they need our support.
Galations 2:1-6 (NASB) Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one anothers burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load.
At first glance, this would appear contradictory, but I have heard it explained this way: The word burden, in verse 2, refers to something too heavy for one individual to carry alone. In contrast, the word load refers to something that can and should be handled by just one person.
Its all a matter of balance. No laziness or enabling, to use the common word for unhealthy overdependence. But the underlying context in the passage is clear; the Christian family is supposed to be a supportive, encouraging fellowship and not a condemning, isolating one not in a spirit of superiority, but rather one of gentleness.
Series to be continued.
Janice P. Moser