Love does not refuse help offered from pure motives

by Craig on September 2, 2011

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On his last day…
Our Lord’s body was broken…
his mind must’ve been a challenge to focus…
the loss of too much blood, no food, no water to speak of for days…
and still he had to get from where he was to Calvary.

According to Scripture he was offered help…
one offer he was forced to accept – one he refused…

And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him. As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull), they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink. (MT 27:31-34)

Both were matters of routine and neither was offered out of love.

But from outside the pages of the Bible…
a story has been preserved through the ages…
it was told among those in the first century…
and is an honored part of Church Tradition.

A woman named Veronica.

In Jerusalem’s narrow streets, overrun with people who came to see a spectacle, there were some who came to be with our Lord. Veronica, one of these, matched the steps of Jesus through every street on the way to Calvary.

She didn’t watch from distance…
nor walk behind…
nor get too far ahead…
but remained close enough to see the face of Jesus…
a face marred by injury and dripping with blood and sweat.

At some point there was a break in movement, maybe it was one of the times when Jesus fell under the weight of the cross. There must’ve been some commotion because she was able to slip through the Roman guards and reach Our Lord…

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close enough to touch…
close enough to help…
close enough to love…

She took a cloth…
and framed the face of Our Lord…
blotting up the sweat, wiping blood from his eyes…
maybe sharing some of his tears.

It was a small act of kindness…

and it was the one bit of help on the way to save us that Our Lord accepted freely.

Some help offered should be refused.
Some is offered with ulterior motives.
The motive behind the offer is sometimes more important than the offer itself.

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If there is a motivation other than love, it may very well be right to refuse. But if someone offers help, asking nothing in return, wanting to only benefit, whether the help is big or small – that I should accept.

I know today I’ll be able to help someone…

or someones…

and I’ll not offer help unless the motive be pure.

I may not be offered help today…

but if I am…

and if the offer is given freely, of love, I’ll graciously accept.

Love does not refuse help offered from pure motives.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora September 2, 2011 at 9:20 am

I needed this today, Craig! Thank you! I never thought of the other side of the coin — the accepting of love given with the right motives. I am well known to be a “no, thank you!” person. Perhaps part of that is pride, and part not learning to discern strings attached to the offers. It was easier to reject ALL. Through the years, the Lord has brought me through stuff where I learned to graciously accept love gifts of help. And it was when I did that I learned how closed and locked my heart was to love. I loved your examples today. I had never heard the story of Veronica. I wonder where I would have been on that day???? If I have learned anything, it’s this: Only those who have experienced the Calvary Road and have had a cross carried for them seem to really know how to carry a cross for another and minister to them. What a wonderful plan for today, Craig! to look for someone who needs help, and to be ready to accept help — if motives are pure. I will join you in that!

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Andrea Dawn September 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

Dear Cora . . . I just want to share some verses from the Message version of the Bible that have really ministered to me as I have found myself needing to accept more and more help in these last few years. “Matthew 10:40,41 “We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent Me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is AS GOOD as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving OR receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”

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Cora September 2, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Andrea Dawn, it has only been recently that I got a copy of the Message version, and have found it so refreshing. I grew up with the KJV, memorizing it, and sometimes it seems soooooo familiar that I read too fast and miss a lot. The Message has made me read slower, and sometimes I smile at what I missed. The passge you quoted here is just wonderful!!! Thank you so much for that.

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Craig September 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

and Cora, don’t aske me to explain too much, but your comment had me in tears. Not big tears, just a little ones, just the ones you get when somebody says a lot of what you’re thinking – you know – those kind. And today – will not today – but yesterday – which is the day you left this comment – but the day before today – when I’m leaving this reply. Someone needed my help, circumstances were preventing it, someone helped me, so I could help the other person, and then I helped the person who helped me, AND then was off to help the other person – the one who needed my help to begin with. It was a really nice circle of love. Sometimes when I do these loves, just work on one little love one little day – little miracles happen. thank you Cora, and God bless you.

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Cora September 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

I forgot to mention this: I’ve been reading the little book, IF, by AmyCarmichael. Each page has an “IF” and a challenging statement about Calvary love. I’ve read it many times, but this time, I’m taking one page a day. Today’s statement was: “IF I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting “Who made thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou hast not received?” then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”

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Nancy September 2, 2011 at 9:49 am

Still feeling the aftermath of Hurricane Irene here, needing to accept lots of help. It is humbling, being on the receiving end. But isn’t it God’s beautiful purpose, to humble us and show us we are not self-sufficient and ever in need of grace?

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Cora September 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Nancy, I wish I were there! I’d be with you in a heartbeat asking what I could do to help. You are in my prayers!

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Craig September 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Nancy, having been on the side of being able to help – and on the side of needing the help – sometimes the side needing the help is harder – and not necessarily because of being in need – because of pride which wells up when you are in need and someone helps. I’m sorry I’m late replying to your comment and I hope things get put back together pretty quickly. God bless and keep you and Nancy.

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Dawn September 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Help me here, Christ’s Church at Deep into Love,

If I didn’t help unless my motives were pure I might never do anything. Many times I help because it is expected or it would be like shouting to the person, “I really don’t want to do this so I won’t.” What about the Scripture that says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” I’ve been operating under the assumption that I DO what Christ tells me to do, irregardless of the feelings. I guess if the motive is to honor Christ then that is a pure motive, but sometimes I do it because I should AND because they are my boss or I won’t get help when I need it if I don’t help now. These are impure motives.

I find this a difficult concept. Anyone else?

Dawn

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Cora September 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Dawn, I think this is one of the hardest of all the “Christian concepts” to grasp — at least, it has been for me. I’m so glad to see someone willing to throw it out here. The verse you quoted is so important to our Christ Walk, or the crucified life as stated in Galations 2:20. Yet, we are to reckon ouirselves dead to the old man and risen and walking in the New, which is Christ. And still, we fight the “I don’t feel like it,” don’t we? Can I really “love my enemies?” I would have said yes, but the verse goes on the qualify what loving them consists of, and I fail so many times. But as we teach our children to do things they “don’t feel like” doing, so must we teach ourselves. In the humanness of Christ, He prayed for the cup to be taken from Him — He did not “feel like” going to the cross. Yet, when we pray, like Him, that our wills be lost in the Father’s, we somehow grow into that place of wanting to. We used to sing, “Not what I wish to be, nor where I wish to go, for who am I that I should choose my way? The Lord will choose for me, ’tis better far, I know, so let Him bid me go, or stay.”

Dawn, I, too, do things because I have to, or ought to, or because of what others will think, etc. I don’t like cooking, and I hate grocery shopping. But the lady I care for needs these things done for her, and I do it. Sometimes I am VERY crabby doing it. And I don’t expect a star in my crown, or a reward, or even a “You did it unto Me,” when I get to heaven. I just did it and was done with it. Motive? Not sure there was impure or pure or ANY motive. Just wanted to be done with it.

I hope others comment on this. I love it!

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Craig September 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I turned away for one day – and don’t read the comments even all day yesterday because I had car problems and babysat my nieces – and look at the brouhaha you start!!! ツ your thinking, by the way, is exactly like mine. When I wrote that word “pure” I almost immediately got the feeling to change it – for pretty much all the reasons that you, and Cora, and A. mentioned. I have one person I “love” although I really don’t want to. And that’s not pure. Doing it over again I’d change the words “pure intentions” to “good intentions”. Good intentions cover not wanting to do it – but doing it out of love. So to that end – I almost edited my post – but then if I edit the post – and someone comes down to read your comment – then they won’t know what you’re talking about. So it will stay as is. Thank you Dawn – “pure” was the wrong word to put there. Well done! and thank you – and I stand corrected – and humbled – and really happy that you read close enough to notice that. ツGod bless!

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A. September 3, 2011 at 9:38 am

Dawn and Cora….it is hard to love the unlovely, isn’t it?! in my current challenge, and this week has had two biggies, for sure, i am asking the Holy Spirit to help me to see them with His eyes so that my actions won’t reek of ‘I have to, therefore I will.” I think others know when we are doing things out of an unloving heart. I don’t like receiving gifts that come from that kind of heart.

So what to do? I find that it helps if I just stop any doing until Christ enables me to see them with wise compassion. Sometimes, my loving response has to include things that won’t seem loving to the other person, nor very compassionate, but as long as I do it with love and compassion in my own heart, I am content. Kids don’t always view the truly loving, wise, and even compassionate parental responses as good or loving at the time, but that doesn’t negate the truth about the responses.

I find that if I jump right in with doing the ‘right’ think when my heart is wrong, the results are different than if I wait and pray until my heart is right and truly loving and compassionate and wise, etc. There is no verse that I have found that says one must respond right away. Jesus WAS perfect, and He didn’t even respond right away. He could have raised Lazarus with a thought, but He waited, and time elapsed, etc.

Sometimes, I just have to confess to God that my heart towards a person is stinky, and ask Him to help me with it. Sometimes, like Cora said, one may not have the luxury of ‘waiting’ for a perfect heart, because one’s job may not allow them ‘wait time’, so then I just try to be honest with God (God, I hate this, am angry, etc.), carry on the best I can in light of that while I wait for my heart breakthrough.. And I realize I am commenting to the choir so it is time for me to quietly take my leave!

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A. September 3, 2011 at 9:40 am

Craig, hearted hearing about Veronica! where did you find that account? Love it! And love your parting challenge to us, today. It could be very, very tough….on the receiving end.

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Craig September 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm

the story is the old church tradition – naturally it was rewritten with my take on it – did she really walk step by step with Our Lord? – Literary license. It’s the sixth station of the Catholic stations of the cross – so I know that. And the tradition says that after she wiped our Lord space – his face appeared on her cloth. I left that part out. I’m not a Catholic. ツGod bless you A.

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Dawn September 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

Dear Ones,

Since this is Deep Into Love, I thought I might mention a sermon I once heard by the late Dr. David Wilkerson while he was recruiting workers to work with drug addicts in New York City. He had a young man come to him and the young man wanted to help the addicts “kick the habit”. Dr. Wilkerson told the young man,
“You know, you’re going to have to hold their hands, clean up their vomit, bathe them and pray with them while they are shaking uncontrollably. Do you think you love them enough to do that?”
The young man responded, “I don’t know if I have that kind of love or not, but I’m willing to do it till I get it.”
David Wilkerson hired the young man on the spot. I think I don’t misrepresent Dr. Wilkerson when I say he believed love was a choice and that once we chose the right direction, God supplied the right feelings.
“Help me” prayers never helped me, but when I substitute the words “I chose” for “help me,” then I can make headway. For example “I choose” to love her replaces “Help me” to love her. “Help me” immobilizes me by making me think I’m praying, but it gets me nowhere. But then, you all realize that I struggle with “Be still and know.” and so this is the opinion of a task-oriented Martha type. I DO hear you, A., basking at the feet of Jesus. I’m just wonderin’.

Dawn

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Cora September 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Dawn, I was a teen during the Dave Wilkerson – Cross and the Switchblade — era. Being brought up in such a sheltered, protected environment, I had no idea of the real world and what (who) was out there. I read that book over and over and over until the pages fell out. I saw the movie several times over. Since that time, almost 50 years ago now, I have learned through experience that sometimes love comes easy, and sometimes, it comes by practice and by choice. Have you ever stood and just observed the church nursery and watched the workers respond to the children there? Dawn, I’m sure you see it every day in your line of work. There are some kids that are like “love magnets”. Workers are drawn to them, love on them, hug them, etc. Others that are more moody and tend to throw stuff and pout are usually left alone. And really, these latter ones need our love even more than ever. To love as He loves —– what a goal in life. If all Christians had that goal, what a different world this would be!

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A. September 3, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Dawn, there is probably no single good answer to this one or single way. I have prayed ‘help me’s’ and done “I choose’s” and sometimes they have both worked and sometimes it has seemed that other things were needed. I wish it were very, very simple. And Dawn, wonderin’ is good! :)

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Craig September 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm

A. I left this as a comment instead of a reply – so you might not have seen it.

After reading all of this – I realize that you folks have no use for me ツ and I really don’t have anything to add – except I have no idea who Dave Wilkerson is – heretic that I must be ツ and I heart that you are all here to discuss this when I was absent for the day. Thank you all ツ

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Mela Kamin September 3, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Craig – I thought I’d stop over, after you were so gracious to come by my little corner of the internet today. You definitely helped me by offering kindness toward me & my son, as he recovers. Bless you as you continue to use your gifts for Him.

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Craig September 4, 2011 at 6:53 am

Mela, thank you, I’m assuming that you already have one of those little scratching things seek and scratch under the cast when it starts getting itchy. ツ and God bless and keep you too, as YOU continue to use your voice for him!

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Dawn September 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Dear Craig,

Here is my blog on David Wilkerson written right after his death earlier this year.
http://dschondog.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/remembering-david/

You must get a copy of The Cross and the Switchblade or the movie of the same name. This is a piece of American Christian history as important to some as Wesley, Moody, Azusa Street or Dr. King.

Keepin’ you “in the loop”,
Dawn

PS The best pastors get others helping one another. We DO need you. I have quite a vivid picture of you watching your nieces :^)!!

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Craig September 4, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Dawn, I haven’t known enough personal pastors to know what you do about them. But I trust you – and so take you at your word. It seems like the best pastors would help others to help each other. I learn so much from you. and thank you for keeping me “in the loop”. God bless you Dawn.

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Adrienne September 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm

This is such a great post, Craig! It’s so true that we need to keep our motives pure and full of love. Expecting nothing in return.

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Craig September 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Adrienne, thank you. Some of the comments have reminded me that it’s really, really, really hard to have perfectly pure motives – I guess in fact, it’s impossible. But we can have good motives – only God has “pure” motives. And I think the thing that this story teaches me most is that when someone offers help – with good motives – I shouldn’t let pride – or whatever – get in the way. Sometimes it’s a lot harder to accept help then to give it. Thank you for stopping by. God bless you and yours Adrienne.

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Carrie September 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Fabulous! You offered me something without even realizing, I’m sure….your comment on my site offered me gladness and joy that my words brought a smile to your face!

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Craig September 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm

they did, Carrie!! and I really did smile all the way through.Yay!! ƪ(◠‿◠)╯ smiles are good. So thank you Carrie, and God bless and keep you.

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Kris September 5, 2011 at 5:47 am

I love this story about Veronica. I hadn’t heardnit before, or don’t remember hearing it (quite possible!) this has been a fascinating discussion on helping and motives… I struggle with an obnoxious sized pride that prevents me from accepting help quite often. I tend to not ‘allow’ others to bless me that way. I am chewing on this one, Craig. Praying that when I help, it’s not my selfish flesh which motivates. Love picturing you babysittig your nieces! *hearts* Blessings, brother. You’re a good man. 😉

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Craig September 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Kris, I’m sorry I’m so late responding – but you know there was a CATastrophe. and you hadn’t remembered hearing the story of Veronica because you’re not Catholic – I think it’s the sixth station of the cross in every Catholic Church ツ and the pride you speak of – I know it well. Until this year I named “connect” I rarely had to worry about it – I kept everything hidden – nobody ever knew there was a need. I’m still bad at that. And the nieces – had a blast – games – pictures – Disney channel – food – fun had by all ツ

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