Have you ever wondered why God at times doesn’t help us in overcoming our weaknesses? Why is it when we cry out to God to free us from our moral failures, He seems to hide Himself from us, as if He is not willing to come for our aid? We may be pleading to God to deliver us from vices, such as anger, lust, anxiety, impatience, greed…etc, and yet we find ourselves again and again staining ourselves with these evils, and therefore thinking, “When will God help me in these areas to live a life of an overcomer? If God wants me to be holy why is He not answering my prayers for holiness?"

God shuns the prayers of proud

As I was pondering over this issue, the Spirit of the Living God taught me an important lesson. One of the reasons God doesn’t help us in our weaknesses, no matter how much we pray (even fast), is that we are not compassionate towards others’ weaknesses. How highly critical we are towards the weaknesses of other people! How unkindly we criticize others’ failures! How careful we are in watching for and pointing out the flaws of others! How often we spend time in gossiping and backbiting, doing all such things with self-justification! How much we lack compassion, kindness, grace and mercy when it comes to dealing with those who are weak like us, even weaker than us! And we wonder why God is not answering our prayers for overcoming sins in our own life and get disappointed.

The Holy Bible explicitly says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6). A proud man, although he may pray to God for His holiness, is more troubled with others’ sins than with his own. He is more critical about others’ failures than of his own. He is more judgmental about the speck in others’ eye than about the plank in his own eye. And then he is puzzled why God is not answering his prayers and left him to live a defeated Christian life. Remember, God hates arrogance and shuns prayers coming forth from such attitude.

Humble before God, proud before others

There is one intriguing thing about the proud. He prays to God to deliver him from all other vices but doesn’t intensely recognize his own pride (although he may casually confess), thus neglecting to desperately seek God for deliverance from this most terrible vice. He confesses his weaknesses before God, but when he is out of the closet, he looks down at others. He seeks mercy from God but doesn’t show mercy to others. He admires the grace of God but doesn’t manifest grace to others. He adores the kindness of God towards him but is unkind towards others. The humble conduct which is shown before God turns exactly the opposite when it comes to people.

Are you wondering how I know all these things? Because the Spirit of God revealed and keeps revealing my own heart.

I have learned in the Lord that if I expect and pray to God to help me in overcoming my moral weaknesses I need to be careful and merciful when it comes to looking at and dealing with others’ moral failures. Imagine, if God answers the prayer of an arrogant person in delivering him from all vices, except pride, he would feel of himself much better than others, thus despising those who are weak. One of the reasons, I strongly believe, why God leaves us to wrestle with our weaknesses is so that we would learn to be merciful toward others. Regretfully, not many of us learn this lesson and continue to dwell in unkindness and unmerciful attitude and therefore live a defeated Christian life.

Be Merciful

It is written, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matt. 5:7)

Now, my dear brothers and sisters, being merciful doesn’t mean ‘ignoring’ the sins of others and just minding our own holy business. It doesn’t even mean ‘endorsing’ them. It means, when we look at or deal with others’ moral weaknesses, we do so with ‘love’ and ‘compassion’, knowing that we ourselves are weak and vulnerable to fall and yet God is merciful towards us; when we speak about others weakness, we do so with fear, knowing that we ourselves are not better and yet God is gracious towards us; every word, correction, even rebuke, comes from a concerned and caring heart. It is written, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (Jas. 2:12-13)

Finally, let our attitude be like that of a high priest of the Old Testament, about whom the author of Hebrews writes, “He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness” (Heb. 5:2). When we humble ourselves before the Lord and treat others with mercy, the Lord would be greatly willing to help us live a holy and righteous life before Him. He bestows His mercy upon those who extend it to others.

May the Lord humble us in our weaknesses, exalt us over our failures in humility and use us to manifest His mercy to the weak.
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Stephen David