Excuses We Give for Not Helping Others in Need
I have run into this dilemma a hundred times, and I am never sure what to do. I pull up to a red light, and a person is standing on the corner. Sometimes they have a dog. Sometimes they are missing a limb or in a wheelchair. But they always have a sign.
Sometimes it simply says, “Anything helps; God bless,” sometimes it’s funny, “Will eat for food.” You always have that one to two-minute time frame where you must decide, “Am I going to give them something or not?”
Sometimes the choice is easy when you have no cash in your wallet. Other times you know you have something you can give, but you run through the gamut of excuses on why you cannot provide to this person on the corner.
You start thinking they will go out and buy drugs with the money you give. Or why don’t they get a job? If they can stand on the corner, they can work somewhere. Or if I give them something they will never get off this corner. Or I am not going to enable someone to be lazy.
There are more excuses, but these usually run through my head when I pull up and see a person on the corner.
Excuses We Have
What excuses go through your head? What reasons do you use to justify not helping? Do you do like me, and suddenly, the most exciting thing in the world popped up on your phone, so you don’t have to make eye contact.
Do you stare ahead like you are in deep philosophical thought and pretend you didn’t notice them in the first place? Some people give no thought to help. Some help whenever they can, but times are tough right now. There are a few who help every time, no matter what.
Who is right? How do I know I am doing the right thing? I don’t want to feel guilty in my car going to the grocery store. It is such a dilemma.
What Does Jesus Say?
What does Jesus have to say about this? Let’s look at John chapter 21 verses 15-17. Jesus had been crucified and rose from the dead, and he started appearing to his disciples. This was his third time doing this. They had just finished eating, and Jesus was smart. He asked them questions after their meal. My word of advice, don’t ask serious questions when people are ‘hangry’ (hungry and angry). One’s Christian behavior often goes out the window until they have some food in them.
Jesus asked Peter a straightforward question, “Do you love Me?” Of course, Peter said yes. It was like my wife asking me, “Do I look pretty in this dress?” What else am I going to say? I’ve never been murdered before, and I would not like to start now. On cue, when Jesus asked do you love me? Peter said yes. Jesus asked Peter three times, and each time after the “Yes” Jesus responded “Feed my lambs” and “Shepherd my sheep” and finally “Feed my sheep.”
No Excuses. No Exceptions
I read every translation of this verse I could find. There were no side notes or footnotes that said anything about only to feed someone if they are disabled, or a military vet, or not on drugs, or have a dog, or a creative sign or if it will not make them lazy, or whatever else excuse one can come up with.
If you love Jesus Christ, you know when the spirit prompts you to do something. You do it! We know what we must do. It’s time to stop making excuses and do it. We all make excuses, and I know I do. We rationalize so we don’t have to do our part.
There are a lot of things that are very simple in the Bible. This is one of them. If you love Jesus, you must take care of his people. We like to pretend where we are today; we got there all by ourselves with little to no help. We know better.
God sent people to help us, and now he is sending us to help someone else. Don’t create a dilemma where there is none. Feed his lambs (figuratively, mentally, and emotionally), shepherd his sheep, feed his sheep. If he is saying this over and over, it must be important. It’s time to stop making excuses and be obedient. I’ll go first. I would love it if you went second.
Prescott Williamson is a Bible-believing Christian. He is a husband, a father, and someone who believes that there is a little humor to be found in whatever situation God sends your way. He was born in the small islands of the Bahamas but now lives in the Suburbs of Fort Worth Texas, which is basically the same thing. He enjoys TV, reading, blogging and serving in his church (especially on the days they serve donuts). You can see what I have been thinking about lately on my blog www.prescottascoolbreeze.com.