Written by Rev. Oruelle MershonThis ideology of changing someone is a fallacy that comes from an unknowing God complex wherein we start wanting to be someone’s redeemer. But we are not, nor can we ever be, God to someone. When you have a “need-to-be-needed” complex, you’ll allow that need to influence your choices. And the more others warn you about it, the less you listen to them.This process often happens without your even knowing that you have allowed the need-to-be-needed impulse to take over your decision-making process. Perhaps you heard testimonials from those who have experienced massive change through their marriage. But the difference is that the power to change must come from within the person, not from you. When you try to change your spouse, it doesn’t work, and eventually the hope for change makes you sick. “Hope deferred make the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12)Hope makes you sick when you keep envisioning something that never materializes, sick of making lame excuses for what is not working even as it becomes increasingly obvious to those around you. Sound relationship decisions are not based on hope.Now add in the fact that people of faith often try to spiritualize every issue. In the name of faith, we often dumb down our instincts and ignore our senses. That is not having faith in God. Faith in God should be just that, faith in God. We must not place our faith in men and women. They will fail us. God gives all of us a will and doesn’t force us to change. Change must come from within each of us as we accept the grace God repeatedly extends to each of us.In any relationship decision, make sure you’re processing all the data and listening to your gut. What you see is what you get. Don’t mistake yourself for God in someone else’s life.
I love gospel music. Not only is it encouraging in its message, to me its personal. It’s like the artists were thinking about me when they were writing the songs. When I listen to gospel music it’s like someone is speaking directly to me, to my situation. Then I step back and think, someone is speaking directly to me. It’s God. He was thinking about me when the songs were being written because He knew at some point in time that I was going to need to hear from Him. He uses all kinds of means to reach us in our time of need. We just need to have open ears and open hearts. Your message may come through a song, a sermon, a prayer, a conversation with a friend, or even directly from God himself during your quiet time. I can’t hear my music unless my headphones or speakers are plugged into the device that is playing it. Make sure you are plugged in and connected to God our Father so that you can hear from Him today.
This past Sunday, our Sunday School lesson focused on looking for God in nature. To take that a step further, I encouraged my students to look for God in everything, even their day to day comings and goings. Well today, I got to practice what I taught. I saw God in something so small and seemingly insignificant. As I was preparing to go to work this morning, I packed my lunch and got money for breakfast. I walked out the front door and heard the Holy Spirit tell me to go back and pack some breakfast. So I immediately went back inside and packed something to eat for breakfast and headed to work. As I was driving, I saw a homeless woman standing on the side of the road. I had seen the woman before and had even helped her. But today was very interesting. The last few times I saw homeless people asking for help, I didn’t have any money on me but said to myself, “Next time I have money, I will definitely help them.” Well today, since I went back to pack some breakfast food, I no longer needed the money in my pocket so I had the opportunity to bless the woman. She also blessed me today though too. She actually remembered me and smiled and asked me how I was doing. It really meant a lot to me that even in her circumstances she 1.) smiled and 2.) was concerned about me. That just reminded me that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in life, you are always in a position to be a blessing to someone. We have to be sure to listen to the Holy Spirit (that little intuition or gut feeling, yeah that’s God speaking to you) so that we know how God wants to use us. I was able to be a blessing and be blessed all because I saw God in something as small as going back to pack some breakfast. Be on the lookout and listen to what God is saying to you even in the small things. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to be a blessing and to be blessed!
My heart is heavy and I am overwhelmed by all that has taken place in this great nation called America. Only days ago, we celebrated our Independence Day, the day we became a free nation, free from the oppressive rule of England. But I would argue that we are not completely free because as a nation we are still subject to a different oppressive ruler. That ruler is sin. It is sin that causes us to murder one another in cold blood. It is sin that causes us to hate each other. It is sin that divides us.
There is only one solution to the issues we are facing here in America. There is only one way to overcome our present day slave master in disguise. Jesus said, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Well what teachings are Jesus referring to? He taught us to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. But this is where it gets a little tricky. Our human minds would have us to believe that we can do that on our own, but we can’t. It’s hard to love our enemies. It’s hard to love those who insult, stereotype, demean, undervalue, and kill us. We need help with that. But that help is readily available in Jesus. He is that truth that will set us free. He is the only way that we can truly be free.
As I look around the room, I see so much black love
A gift so amazing, it could have only been sent from God above
I see beauty in my black sisters, strength in my black men
So many valuable treasures hidden down deep within
The voices they tried to silence, the hearts they tried to break
Are the very things, my friends, that we are here to celebrate
From the civil rights movement back then, to black lives matter today
Black love has been pushed, pulled, and pressed on every side, in every way
But there’s something that I love about you, my black people
You have a way of overcoming every kind of evil
Your love has stood firm, enduring the toughest of trials
Those strong winds may have blown, but you stood firm all the while
Like Barack and Michelle, you’ve walked in your power
Like Will and Jada, you stayed united in your darkest hour
Like Martin and Coretta, you fought the good fight and won
Like Ossie and Ruby, you loved until your job was done
You can’t tell me that black love doesn’t exist or that it isn’t strong
They may discredit the black family, but we can prove them all wrong
Like glass hitting the floor, I see stereotypes shatter
Because today we celebrate that black love does matter.
On my way to work this morning one of my favorite songs came on the radio. It is called Halfway by a band named 3For3. The lyrics say (At least this is what I hear):
You keep my heart beating when it’s broken
You keep me on the move
Even on my darkest days
You don’t love me half way.
You’re gonna finish everything you started
You’re gonna see it through
Even when the seasons change
You don’t love me half way.
I just wanted to use this opportunity to thank God for never loving me only half way. I also thank Him for songs that speak directly to me and can express the way I feel when I can’t put it into words myself.
This morning I had to pray and ask God for forgiveness. On my way to work, I frequently see the same woman standing on the side of the road asking for money. I have given her the customary dollar or two a couple times in the past but this morning I decided that since I had already helped her before, I wasn’t obligated to help her again today. But immediately as the red light turned to green and I proceeded through the intersection, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit. Who was I to say that this woman had been helped enough? I honestly had the thought cross my mind that if people keep giving her money at this intersection that she will just keep coming back for more. I don’t know anything about this woman or how she ended up in this situation but God told me it’s none of my business. But as a Christian, my business should be helping those that are in need. I believe I was tested today and I did not pass. I had the opportunity and the ability to help this woman, this child of God, but let my flesh get the best of me. There I was so richly blessed by God and I chose not to share those blessings. Giving her a couple of dollars wouldn’t have hardly been a sacrifice for me but what is more sad is that I missed the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with someone who was obviously in need. But I am grateful that God doesn’t think like me, that when I come to Him in need He doesn’t brush me off because He has helped me before. My prayer for myself and for other believers is that when we see someone in need, whether it be for money, guidance, time, or just love that we will be willing to give it however much it is needed just like God does for us.