I just read an article in Christianity Today entitled, 'Benny Hinn Renounces His Selling God's Blessings' and immediately I was reminded of how God used Mr. Hinn to forever change my life. The year 2003. It was late and I was still at the hospital with my now late grandfather, K.D. Sweet, who'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer. As I sat beside his bed glaring out into the night sky, praying for his healing among other things, God dropped it on my heart to fast. At the time, I was a baby Christian and had finally jumped into hyper-spirituality, after having been wrongfully terminated a few months prior. So when I heard fast, being the hyper-spiritual baby that I was, I decided I would do it for forty-days. Yes, you heard me right. 40 days and 40 nights! Now don't get me wrong, God was not requiring that of me at the time. This was me with my hyper-spiritual self, wanting to do 'exceedingly, abundantly, above all I could ask or think' while at the same time not realizing that was God's job. But as I gazed into the night sky, I was overcome with love for my grandfather. And thus, I decided that would be the purpose of my fast.
After visiting hours were over, I hopped in my car thinking about what the next 40 days would be like. I even wrote down my why. But as I did, questions began to arise and I wrote each of them down; anxiously expecting God to answer each and every one of them. The next morning, I headed out to my local grocer to pick up my juices. Certainly, you didn't think I was going to fast 40 days on just water, did you? #uhno After stocking up on nothing but 100% juices, I went back to the hospital where my grandfather would soon be discharged. No longer did he have to go to 'The Bentley', an uber expensive independent, retirement community. Instead, he would live with my mother and I would now be his caregiver. As such, it was my responsibility to prepare (2) meals a day. How I was going to do this while on a 40-day juice fast, I didn't know, but my hyper-spiritual behind was too far gone to try to figure that out. Surprisingly though as the days progressed, it began increasingly easy to cook and watch him and my son eat what I'd prepared. The only downfall was that I couldn't taste my delicacies which meant I'd have to endure his ever-so-harsh-yet-funny rebukes. One of my all time favorites was, 'This tastes like tire rubber!'
Fast forward 39 days and I was only two (2) hours away from my lips tasting the barbeque chicken, green beans, and mac and cheese plate I'd prepared to wolf down when the clock struck midnight. I remember it being two hours away because Benny Hinn came on at 10pm and I usually watched him, Brother Copeland, and Joyce Meyer every night before I went to bed. Only this time while watching, something happened.
My Why for the 40
You see, up until that point, I heard nothing from God about my why. But as I watched Mr. Hinn pray for people's healing, on the 39th day and 22nd hour, my why became clear. As my eyes panned the crowd of people from all walks of life and from every ethnicity, lift up their hands with tears in their eyes, God revealed my why in their midst. Not in an audible voice, though back then my hyper-spiritual self would have fought you if you thought otherwise, but He spoke to my spirit 'to keep my mouth off of His people'. "I'm sorry. Excuse me, what?" Did God just spiritually check me? Yes He did, and rightfully so. God was letting me know that I needed to keep my penetrating observations, slick comments, and quick judgments off of His people. But why? Because my why for the fast was love.
Fasting for Love
I asked God to teach me everything about love. Therefore, my first love lesson was to keep my mouth off of His people. So when I read that article about Mr. Hinn, I was immediately reminded of what I, and so many others of us in Christianity, should do, and that's - 'keep our mouths off of Mr. Hinn.' Romans 14:4 says, 'Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.' That scripture lets us know that in spite of Mr. Hinn's previous spiritual failures and/or present revelations, he is still God's servant, and He will help him endure this round of scrutiny. And there's definitely no denying that God has made him to stand because he's still teaching the Word of God, after 40 years in ministry. Have I learned this lesson after 40 days of juice fasting and sixteen years of studying God's Word? Unfortunately, not! But this reminds me that I need to get back on my grizzy and go back to my first love lesson, and I encourage you to do the same. As Mr. Hinn matures in the Word, let's keep our indignant comments to ourselves and our mouths off of his spiritual growth.
Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for judging. I have talked about, commented, posted, and reposted my judgment of others and for that I repent. I ask that You would forgive me for putting my mouth on Your people. Lord, please 'set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the door of my lips'. In Jesus' name.
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