Life Story God Moments Missions Posted May 7, 2022

Towards the end of my senior year in high school, I was awarded with a scholarship from band.

I was extremely passionate about the Barberton Band program... but that is a story for another time.

As in... given.

As in... "Here you go!
Thank you for being so awesome!
Take this as a token of our appreciation!
You're going to have a bright future ahead... yes you will!!"

But my parents objected to this. Passionately. They told me to either refuse it or give it to someone else. "You're no charity case," they said. That was when I started to think that maybe – just maybe – they didn't know what was best for me. Or what was best for them for that matter. "You didn't see us asking for handouts when we were down!"

I ended up accepting the award anyway – much to their chagrin – but it was going to take more than that to erase what was fundamentally taught to me at a very young age; That being needy is a death kneel for any relationship. I think that's why people have been calling me "The Mattman" for as long as I can remember. Like some other awesome superhero I know, I grew up believing that I needed to find my own way. I didn't need anyone... this world needs ME!

But even that other guy had a sidekick. Being self-sufficient doesn't mean never having to ask for help. Being too dependent is obviously bad, but refusing to admit you need others at all is even worse. It's like the soldier who is so TOUGH and MANLY that he refuses medical attention for his wounds. He eventually bleeds out and misses the rest of the battle. It begs the question – was he brave because he didn't fear bleeding out, or was he a coward because he did fear looking weak in front of the other men?

Knowing the answer could save your life. For me, I used to handle every household expense so my wife wouldn't have to worry. The irony was that she still became worried for my mental and physical health. It wasn't until I completely broke down that I finally admitted to needing her help. By allowing her to do so, it actually helped her become more independent and that allowed both of us to function better as a result. More recently, I had a fundraiser to raise money to go on a mission trip and finish school. I didn't expect much support and didn't try all that hard to promote it. And yet...

From the bottom of my deeply cynical heart... thank you.

Not only was I able to meet my goal, but I was able to help my other cohorts as well. Had I actually believed in other people and had pressed my mission more, I probably could have sent dozens of other people to serve in Miami.

But if asking for help was easy, everyone would be doing it. There's always the risk of more damage and humiliation, even from places claiming to offer help. I've seen too many people have their benefits taken away, because their government believes that will somehow make them less of a broken and dysfunctional mess. I've seen too many people suffer even at church, because many congregations haphazardly believe that only bad people suffer and "God helps those who help themselves." This is why I am in the ministry field. It has become my life mission to call these places out who are discouraging people to the point where they'd rather drown alone in their problems... just like my parents did.

Make no mistake; There are people out there willing to help. Or can refer you to someone who can. Or at least be with you until the very end. There are people out there who are willing to level with you and offer a nonjudgmental, constant, and unconditional presence. We all have sought out relationships dependent on what we do and what we make happen, but it is much more worth it to pursue a relationship that simply values you... however broken and messed up you may be. It is much more worth it to pursue those who love without any agenda. This is the love that casts out all fear. This is the love that can change the world overnight. This is the love we were created for. To deny our need for that is the real death kneel.

"God helps those who – admit they can't – help themselves."