Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Than We Can Handle

1 Corinthians 10:13 is often misquoted/misused...I've heard it (and probably said it this way myself) "God won't give you more than you can handle." And, while this is true in a sense, it is often pulled out of its context to mean something like "God will not allow stuff to happen in your life that you cannot effectively overcome." This is false.

John Ortberg pointed this out in It All Goes Back in the Box, as he correctly writes,

People twist that statement into saying that God will never give us
more than we can handle. Really? Look around the world:
holocaust, death, martyrdom, cancer, war. Whether it's a special
assignment or just living in a fallen world, people all the time are given
burdens they cannot handle...Paul's point is that we can never worm out of
responsibility for sin by saying it's God's fault.

I'm glad I ran across this. It challenged a reading that I had blindly accepted. I knew people had more than they could handle. I've read that verse and said to myself, "There are things, I'm not sure I could handle." To be honest, I felt a sense of pressure when reading this. Nothing can break me? Really? No...that's just religious platitude.

God gives us an out when it comes to temptation, but there are circumstances in life that will beat people down, sometimes even take their life...literally and/or figuratively.

That is why it is so important for the Church to be involved and missional in its endeavors to the community and world in which it exists. There are evils and oppressions out there that are taking people's lives slowly and painfully. And it's more than any of us could handle...alone.

This is why I believe in the Church: I have seen, felt, and participated in Her Salvific mission given by Christ to redeem the world. The message of God's love and mercy are so vital to give hope, and the active love of the body of Christ through mercy and caring ministries demonstrates what salvation is really all about: wholeness.

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