Helping people who might not deserve it

Farmville Enterprise September 27, 2017

“Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” (Matthew 15: 29-31)

Given the large number of people who were healed by Jesus that day plus considering human nature, we safely can presume that some of them had better attitudes than others or had dealt with their struggles in more positive ways than their counterparts. It is even possible that those witnessing the miracles might have deemed a few of those healed as “undeserving.”

The bottom line is that if we obey the commands of Jesus to share with those in need, to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked, we are going to end up helping some people who are undeserving or who actually might not need help. It would be impossible to weed through every scenario every time to help only those truly disadvantaged.

After the recent flooding, disaster relief agencies and churches inevitably will find that some of those in most desperate need of assistance are renters. Are we going to refuse to make their living conditions safe and healthy for fear that we would be increasing the property value for the owners? There will be a significant number of homeowners who were warned to get flood insurance yet failed to do it, only to be left with massive repairs, ruined belongings and huge bills. Will we help them? When we serve at Farmville’s Community Outreach Soup Kitchen are we going to feed only the people we know to be unable to help themselves? Will we stop sending food-filled backpacks home with school children through the Backpack Pals program for fear that people other than the intended kids might end up eating the food? Of course not.

Our task as Christians is to follow Christ’s example. We should be wise in the ways that we channel our money and resources, certainly. It is advisable to do research into missions and agencies to find where the largest percentage of money goes directly to the needy and not to salary or overhead. We should seek out the most vulnerable in our community when trying to help. Often the very young and the elderly constitute the majority of this group. Despite all of these attempts, however, it is inevitable that we will assist some who do not seem to deserve our help.

It is often easy to forget how truly undeserving we ourselves are. Surely, God’s mercy and grace are not things we merit. “As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.’” (Romans 3:10-11) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Since God gives us more good than we deserve we are reminded to be generous in our giving and our attitudes.


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