Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Can't Help Those People

Every church has some of "those" people - those people who are forever in trouble
- who seem to be overwhelmed constantly with problems, but can never figure out how to deal with them
- who complain about how they are being treated by God, but do not bother to make an appearance in church
- who are offended if anyone suggests they are not right with the Lord, yet never have time for the Word of God or prayer - or simple obedience, for that matter - in any part of their daily lives
- who are easily offended at people in church for not giving them enough attention, but cannot tell you who is actually attending church (because they have not been there in so long).
- who cannot understand why their prayer (or more accurately, prayer requests) are not answered as they wish while their lives are filled with myriad sinful habits and backslidings
- whose families seem to perpetuate their sinful habits and unfaithfulness through succeeding generations.
I have met enough of "those" drifting people through several churches over the last thirty plus years that I cannot be accused of focusing on a particular family for the above description. I have always found myself drawn somehow to trying to help those people because that is my nature. It is my calling. In virtually every case, I have been stymied and frustrated. Not infrequently, my wife and I have found ourselves the objects of scorn after spending ourselves to help. We've cleaned homes, given away stoves, refrigerators and rugs, babysat the children, sat up all night with the sick and bereaved, and made endless runs to the hospital at all hours - all to no avail.
I've had to come face-to - face with the fact that there are people I just can't help. Most of all, I can't help people who don't want to be helped. They enjoy their misery or their sin too much to make changes. And they are not about to be changed by some preacher.
Have you ever known people like "those" people, or am I the only one? I don't think so. At some point, every pastor has to contend with the chronically backslidden. This blog is not about giving you a quick and easy answer. I have none, or else I would have used it long ago. The answer, I think, is to keep trying with them, but not to be obsessed with them. Do not let them drag you down. Go after and focus on other people. Victories in other areas will keep you from the perpetual discouragement that "those" people breed. Even if they fail, we must not. We must keep moving forward for the sake of others.


  1. Wow! So true. We've seen similar illustrations of what you described. I think you said it well when you said that they really don't want to be helped. However, sometimes we have to stick our neck out anyway. God is the one Who judges and rewards! Thanks for your blogsite.
    Nancy Larson

  2. You sound like a pastor's wife whose been there, done that. Thanks for the comment.