Causing Offence

Sometimes Helping Others Hurts Us

Ed, my old neighbor, phoned yesterday. I couldn’t come to the phone because I was soaking in the tub. When I got around to calling him back, I explained that my wife had said to me, “You stink.” I offered to put on a clean shirt, but she said nothing would hide my B.O. I decided to take a hot bath as I sniffed some truth to her criticism.

Ed understood, saying that desperate times call for extreme measures. We both talked of the good old days when bath night was once a week, whether you needed it or not. Ed said that it was good that I cleaned up for my wife. He felt that my sacrifice of time, soap, and water didn’t cost me much to become an odorless husband for my wife.

Ed suggested she might have asked for something far more costly. He told me of folks he knew where the wife needed a kidney transplant. The husband was tested but failed to be compatible to donate one of his kidneys for his wife.

“Giving one of my kidneys would be a hard gift for me to give,” I said.

“Because you’re old, and you doubt your kidney has much time left in it?” Ed asked me.

“No, I am afraid of surgery and pain. The fact is, I’m hoping to keep all my body parts for myself. If it were my wife or family member, I would see if I was compatible, and then I would give if I was a good match. I would do it with my knees knocking and all the courage of chicken,” I told Ed.

I asked Ed if he agreed with me that money and possessions were the easiest things to give to help others. My old neighbor said that giving away money to family or friends was against his better judgment. In exceptional circumstances, he would give money or possessions to family or friends, but he wanted to keep his money and possessions for himself.

When we are asked to give to family and friends, our willingness to give is because we love those asking for help. Many may refuse to help those they do not know. Giving to strangers such as those who receive from a food bank may leave some indifferent to helping the hungry.

Giving to help others often is based upon what we consider we can afford to give. What we feel we can afford to give may mean giving what we won’t miss. Mostly our giving reflects me and mine first and others second.

Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the prophets.” How easy it is for us to think of ourselves when it comes to our time to give. We consider what giving to another will cost us as far as money, possessions, time, etc. We might not say to ourselves if I were the person needing help, what would I want to receive?  If I were hungry, I would want to be able to get some food from a food bank. Help needy enemies, strangers, and family as you would want to be helped.

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