To help, or not to help; that is the question! Read more...

Day 9 (Vol. 2) (Category: Wisdom)

Today’s Reading: Gen. 23-24, Matt. 7

Today’s Reflection: Matt. 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Sometimes it is difficult to know when to help someone and when not to. However, our wise Lord gives us a principle with which to help us make the right choice every time. First, let us observe that He is making a comparison between how people respond to your spiritual advice and/or your monetary giving, vs. how dogs and swine respond to things that they have neither the capacity nor the desire to receive with thanksgiving. Therefore, it is the receiving capacity as well as the responding capability of the possible recipient that we need to carefully observe. This tells me that, at first, we may not be able to make a fair observation of one’s ability to either receive or respond appropriately until we have taken a step of faith in giving them a chance. In other words, we should not pre-judge someone’s behavior and determine beforehand that they will not receive of us. The only way to learn of one’s tendencies is to give them at least one opportunity to show some sort of thankfulness or gratitude towards us for our generosity towards them. This is not even to say that we should place a limit on how many times we should be willing to help someone. However, what it does teach us is that some people simply refuse to be helped. It is not even that they can’t receive help, but rather that they don’t want to receive help. This is the kind of person that is unthankful in his or her thinking, so much to the point that, like swine, they spoil any kindness you throw their way, almost as if to say, “This is what I think of that!” In essence, I believe our Lord to be teaching us that we are not expected to continue to deplete our own time, energy, and resources into fields that cannot and will not bring forth fruit. At some point, after you have been able to determine that the individual you are trying to help is only responding with dog-like or pig-like tendencies, then you must simply let them go. If you do not, then you will become guilty of doing something that our Lord taught us NOT to do, which is to waste valuables on unfertile soil. In the end, we could end up enabling someone to continue in their sin, as well as depleting ourselves of resources that could have been multiplied.

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copyright © by Gary D. Caudill