“I knew that you wouldn’t let me help you.” When a friend of mine said that to me recently, her words stopped me in my tracks. Let me explain.
I like helping people. I’m not saying that to boast. Instead, I recognize how God has changed me from a very selfish and self-centered person to someone who at least occasionally notices the needs of others and enjoys meeting those needs. God has done so much for me and has given so much to and for me that I enjoy giving back by helping and serving others.
A few days ago, our family returned from a vacation to Florida. The day after we returned, Margaret started getting sick. A couple of days later, I started getting sick. One afternoon, when we were both sick, the phone rang. A friend of ours had called to see how we were feeling. I told her that we were both feeling bad, but that Margaret was worse than me.
She said, “Can I make you a pot of soup? I always like soup when I’m sick.”
I turned down her offer of help, and told her that we could manage to make something for dinner.
Then, she replied, “Well, I knew that you wouldn’t let me help you, but I wanted to offer.” She didn’t say it in a condemning way, but I was certainly convicted by her words.
In that instant, God revealed to me more about my own pride. I loved helping people when they needed it, but when I was in need, I was not willing to admit that need and allow someone else to help me. That’s pride, and it’s sin.
Looking back on my life, I can see this pattern. I even written about it before on this blog. Of course, recognize a failure to submit to God in a certain area of my life is not that same as actually submitting to God in that area of my life. I recognize that I often let my pride get in the way of allowing others to serve. As you can see, my pride is not simply a sin that affects my relationship with Christ, it affects my relationship with others – it affects the community.
Sin is like that. We think sin is private and personal, but it never is. Sin affects our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even a sin that appears to only affect us as individuals also affects the community since we are part of the community.
So, when my friend said, “I knew that you wouldn’t let me help you,” I knew that she was right, and I recognized my sin. I apologized to her and told her that I would love for her to bring us a pot of soup.
While her soup was very delicious, I think her words were more beneficial and needed.