Maybe I’m not a “for real” Christian: I’m willing to concede that; but there are fewer phrases that make me cringe than “God told me to blah, blah, blah.”
Whenever I hear anybody, Christian or not, utter the words “God told me”, my first thought is “You’re lying”. The second, depending on the person making the proclamation is “You’re crazy”. What makes you feel this way, Malaka? Well I’m glad you asked! Let me expound in bullet form:
- Dude. Even in the Bible, God only spoke to a handful of people and they were called prophets. So the notion that you Mr/Ms Christian-ette have a one-on-one connection with the Divine One in which he speaks exclusively to you is absurd. If He’s the same God today, yesterday and forever, why is He suddenly going to switch up His game and start a dialogue with a mere mortal, who has no real impact on society?
- Most people who say “God told me” have an idea of what they already WANT to do, and use the phrase to explain away any failure for what God said to do not coming to pass. “I believe with all sincerity that God wanted me to date/marry this man.” No, God didn’t tell you to marry/date this man. You thought he was good looking/rich/whatever and you convinced yourself that it was God whispering in your ear. The same concept applies to people who pursue anything that they have no business getting involved in, like running for President or Congress when you have a criminal background.
- Some of these people just don’t want to use common sense. I do believe God gives us wisdom, and that is a horse of different color. God gives us brains and a will, and allows us to look at situations and ascertain what the possible outcomes of engaging in processes or participating in certain events might be. For example, if you know that there is going to be a bar-b-que on Bankhead Highway, you can say with all probability that there will be a shooting. God doesn’t have to tell you not to go down there…experience and common sense will tell you to keep your happy behind on the North side.
- “I can’t move, can’t walk, won’t talk unless God tells me to!” These are the words I actually heard in a gospel song, and some people actually live their lives that way. These are folks my bishop calls “so heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good.” The less I say about this group, the better.
What irks me most about this group of people is when they try to impose their assumed sense of “divine instinct” on me. I have recently made the mistake of sharing my future relocation plans with certain individuals. I gave sound reasoning and explanation for my plan of action, complete with my husband’s approval and agreement. What did I get in return?
“I didn’t hear you mention God in any of that,” espoused one woman. “I just believe that my life is led by God; I’ve seen him work so many miracles in my life. If God was really in this plan, it wouldn’t go the way you’re saying; it would go this way.” She then proceeded to lay out exactly what God’s plan would look like. I could take better consideration of this woman’s words if anything she said God said was going to make happen EVER. ACTUALLY. HAPPENED.
Another woman lambasted me over e-mail.
“Well, I wouldn’t move my family half way across the world without a direct word from God.”
Really? A direct word? What the heck does that mean anyway?? Is God supposed to open up the heavens, come down on an escalator, sit at my dinner table and say to me “Malaka, I and God and I want you to move half way across the world!”
I dunno. Maybe I’m just a little too pragmatic. I have a God-given brain. I don’t need God to tell me to brush my teeth. I don’t need God to tell me to send my kids to school. I don’t need God to tell me to get a job. I don’t need God to tell me whether or not to get my tubes tied: I live in a 2 bedroom house on a fixed income.
I do believe God speaks to certain people, but not as many as are running around claiming He’s talking to them…and I’m humble enough to admit my spiritual life is not strong enough to claim God speaks to me on any regular basis. I wish more people would do the same or shut up.