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There’s an epidemic of well-meaning but misdirected help these days. We born-agains are often the worst offenders, imposing our “help” on people who either haven’t asked for it, don’t really want it, or never actually receive it.
In so doing, we make things worse for them and for us.
If people haven’t asked for help, don’t try to give it to them. It won’t work. Yes, you may see that they have a need, but if they don’t see that same need in themselves, keep your mouth shut about it. Better to go to God and pray for them than to nag them.
The only one you should be nagging is God.
Another help misfire is when people are insincere in their request for help. You’ll know the difference between a sincere request and an insincere one, and the best response to an insincere request is a simple “Sorry, no”. It may sound harsh, but ‘helping’ people who don’t really want to be helped in the way they need to be helped does not lead to a positive outcome for anyone.
Sending a check to a charity is another misdirected help effort that does no-one any good (except maybe the administrators and marketers of the charity). If you know (as most of us do now) that up to 100% of charitable donations are redirected down the black hole of admin and advertising costs, then you’re a sucker to sign the check. Charities are banking on your being a sucker. Close that sucker bank down.
If you feel the need to help someone financially, find a relative or an acquaintance who could use a few dollars. Give them the money (don’t lend it to them, give it to them) and do it anonymously, if possible. Expect nothing in return, not even a “thank you”. That’s true charity.
During his ministry years, Jesus helped all those who came to him in sincerity. God also helps all those who come to him in sincerity. These are our models – Jesus and God – not the Joneses next door who are involved in a dozen charities and sign up to do volunteer work every weekend.
If people sincerely need your help, God will send them to you and make it obvious that he sent them to you. Always be ready and willing to help whoever God sends your way. If God sends them, God will help you help them. That’s the only genuine help that’s genuinely needed and genuinely does any good.
People who are hurting hurt people.
Happy people don’t hurt people. Happy people want to help people, not hurt them.
We need to remember this when people are mean or rude or cruel to us.
Jesus said that it’s the sick who need help, not those who are well.
Scratch the surface of anyone who is mean or cruel or hurtful in any way, and you’ll find a painful festering sore below.
The greater the pain gets, the more people deflect it to other people and blame other people.
People who are in pain will growl and bite you if you get too close, the way animals will growl and bite you when you reach to help them.
People in pain need prayers, not curses. They need a gentle presence (from a safe distance, if necessary).
Those people who treat you like dirt – PRAY FOR THEM. Don’t tell them you’re praying for them, just PRAY FOR THEM.
And choose to forgive them.
Don’t dwell on their cruelty; dwell on how miserable they must be, not to know God’s love.
That’s a horrible cold dark wretched place to live, where God isn’t welcome.
We are blessed to know God’s love, to live in his brightness and joy and warmth. Each of us who is born again has enough of God’s love to share with all the world and still have love to spare, just like Jesus had enough loaves and fishes to feed the hungry masses and still have leftovers. Each of us has that much love – enough for every human in the world, and then some – if we let go of any lingering resentment, and let God love fully through us.
That’s your job, as a born-again, to love like God loves, to love like Jesus loved, fully and without reserve.
Only people who are hurting hurt people.
Don’t make their pain worse: help them.