Helping Others, For Their Own Good

Humans are naturally helpful beings and many Christians are more so.

When we see our fellows who are burdened by loads that are too much for them to carry, we offer a hand. It is the natural thing, the human thing, the very Christian thing to do.

And even in those cases when the person so burdened does not even realize they are carrying such a frightful load, we still try to help.

And here is where the gift becomes a little tricky.

What if the burden is an unwanted condition, such as an addiction? Many of those so afflicted do not see it as a burden. Any help given in that quarter is likely to make someone very upset.

And what if the burden is some other form of sinful behavior? We know the person is risking everlasting torment in the fires of Hell and so we try to help them out… and quite often become rebuffed.

Or let’s say the burden we notice could all be relieved if the person would just get a different mind-set, if they could just wrap their mind around the fact that Jesus is available to bring their soul to salvation. So we try to salve their earthly wounds with the words of God.

And most often, the reward is rebuke, ridicule, and the cold shoulder.

So we dust ourselves off and we try again, because it is what we are made of. It is a natural human trait, this need to help.

And it is usually coupled with another very human trait as in the illustrations above, and it is where this stuff gets tricky, because the other trait is being judgmental.

In so many interactions I have seen of help being offered, the giver does not bother to ask the receiver what help might be needed, they simply rely on their own judgment, what they think is best for that other person.

Many courts across the world sentence drug offenders to twelve-step programs to “take care” of their addictions. It is the “helpful” thing to do and it certainly causes no harm as it does expose the person to the availability of such help when they choose to use it, but forcing a person into such a program can not work. Even the first step of the twelve tells you so. The person has to decide there is a problem. And until they do, all the courts in the land, all the Christian help being given, all the King’s horses and all the king’s men, are not going to be able to put them back together again.

As with most things “wrong” with the people around us, it is something between them and God. It always has been, it always will be.

God may move us to do things, take us on as an angel in some situation, but such a urge will come suddenly, unbidden, and not through some analytic judgment function of the brain.

Both my sons rail against the “good Samaritan” behavior of many Christians who seek to “save their souls” by preaching gospel to them. There is nothing wrong with such behavior if you are moved to do so.

But you should not delude yourself that any analytic argument based on the truth in the scriptures is going to convince anyone not already so inclined.

The “faith” you are trying to force onto them is not something you can have a hand in anymore than the addict in the court system above. Sure, you can place it in their vision so they know it is there if they should ever need it but faith does not come through argument and grace is not derived from logic.

A person’s faith and their spiritual journey is essentially between them and the god of their choosing. It really is not about you at all.

So, by all means, if an elderly person needs help crossing a street, or a child trips on the sidewalk, or a person is hit by a car, HELP by all means. But if it is a wound on the inside, of the spirit, where you have to make some sort of “judgment call”, do not be surprised if the person is somewhat less than eternally grateful.

Generally speaking, when the Almighty moves you to assist another, it is not something your have to ponder or analyze.

Or judge.

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