God helps those who help themselves (or…)

God helps those who help themselves. A phrase we’ve all heard. Something about it seems theologically incorrect about it.

First, God helps everyone. God loves everyone, including nonbelievers. Since God is alive and active in our world, He is constantly engaged with everything that happens. God helps everyone. God even helps people who don’t help themselves. In fact, it should be said that God especially helps those who don’t help themselves.

When someone is down and out and completely stressed. God is helping. God is working. To say that God helps those who help themselves implies that we are earning God’s help. Let me ask you, do we EARN God’s help? No. We don’t. God simply helps us regardless of what we do. Grace is undeserved merit.

Second, we aren’t called to help ourselves! We are called to help others. To help ourselves is to be greedy. I fear that many Republicans use this phrase “God helps those who help themselves” as the reason why we shouldn’t help others in need. How many times has God helped you when you didn’t deserve the help? Answer: Every day.

We are called to help other people even when they try to take advantage of us. Even when they to abuse us. Look at Jesus Christ on the cross. He helped us so much, and yet, he was put on a cross to die. We are called to help others. God’s grace is huge. Just as we are given much grace, we have much grace to give to others.

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