As I spent some time with Mark Driscoll and Larry Osborne, many nuggets of wisdom were shared, but one of the most important for me was Pastor Mark’s list of 10 ways God helps people. This is a list of filters through which Jesus-followers view the world’s problems and solutions. And the point of listing them is to learn to view the world through different filters in appropriate contexts, because we want to be people who would say what Scripture would say to people when the Scriptures would say it.
Here’s Part 2 (and here’s Part 1) of the list:
6. Lies & Truth
We believe lies and we need to believe the truth. This filter recognizes that lying is satanic (John 8:44) and that Jesus was right when he said “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). This filter can be so powerful when used in the right context, but powerfully damaging when used in the wrong place and time. We wouldn’t want to go to someone who has experienced a tragic death in their family and blame it on lies that they believe. We need the right Scriptures for the right contexts.
7. Brokenness & Healing
The world is a broken place and is in need of deep healing, which only God can provide. We see this practically when we go to the doctor. A doctor asks you where it hurts, rather than hitting you until he finds it. So it is often the case with God. We see this in Scripture in that Jesus took on flesh in order that he might empathize with our weaknesses, feel our hurts, and experience our temptations (Heb. 4:15).
When we see the world, we understand clearly that broken bones need to be set and healed, and it we don’t allow it, we will never fully be healed. But, tragically, we don’t see the same truth about our souls. How can you show mercy to someone today to help them find soul healing in Jesus? Psalm 147:3 says that God “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” How have you been wounded? Have you allowed yourself time and space to heal?
8. Defilement & Cleansing
Sin makes us dirty, and we need to be cleaned. If you’ve ever been close to a sexual assault victim, universally, one of the first things they do immediately afterward is to take a shower, because they feel dirty. In these moments of extreme pain, people don’t need to know what lie they believe or what sin they committed. They need to know that God can and does cleanse them.
We see a picture of this beautiful reality in Isaiah 6:5-7, where God himself presses a coal the Isaiah’s lips to cleanse him of his unclean lips. We also see this in Zechariah 3:3-4, as Joshua, the high priest, has his filthy clothes (which represent his defilement) removed and replaced with clean garments, making him fit for service.
9. Foolishness & Wisdom
Sometimes, people aren’t in sin— they’re in foolishness. This isn’t sin to repent of, it’s foolishness to correct. Often people claim to want specific things out of life, but don’t live in a way that aligns with their stated goals. One of these areas that many of us are guilty of is having a healthy body. We want to be healthy and live a long time to do what God has for us to do, but we don’t exercise regularly or eat as healthy as we should. Is it a sin to eat McDonald’s? No. But is it foolish to eat food cooked by a high school kid handed to you in the car after you ordered it from a talking box on a regular basis? Absolutely.
Foolish people either don’t understand reality or they don’t accept reality and the decisions they make don’t lead to the life they want. They need to live in accordance with the world that God has created around them.
10. Injustice & Justice
The issues that exist in society are not just individual, they’re systemic. We are not just sinful individually, we’re sinful together in culture. This is a worldview that, admittedly, is a huge weak spot for me, and I don’t think I’m alone. The majority of my conservative brothers and sisters probably have this as a theological weak spot as well, but this is also a biblical idea when used in the right context.
The Scriptures are clear that God loves justice (Ps 9:16, 33:5, 103:6, Is. 1:14-17, etc.), so to ignore the character of God that loves justice in how we live would be a tragedy. We are called to seek justice for the oppressed in our world today, because our God cares about justice. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does
the LORD require of you by to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
I hope that these filters are as helpful for you as they have been for me. May we together become people who say what the Scriptures would say, when they would say them, and in this way, “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”