When Helping Doesn’t Help

Written by BG Howard

August 3, 2022

Of course, one who considers himself a generally good person would be more than willing to lend a hand to any individual displaying a demonstrated need.  Every self-appointed decent Neanderthal desires (even if secretly) to be viewed as a genuinely generous friend in the eyes of their peers.

Notwithstanding the fact being a true friend does require an unselfish attitude as well as the willingness to be inconvenienced for the benefit of others, at a minimum, more often than it’s comfortable.  Ernest humility effortlessly establishes the concerns of family and friends ahead of our own.  One of my “hillbilly philosophies” simply lists that calling yourself someone’s friend is not always an issue of convenience.

There is, however, another position that would have to be considered as it’s inevitable that a person graced; or cursed, depending on how you view it, with a giving heart will at some point be taken advantage of and mistreated as a consequence of their kindness.  The sad part is that many people of this nature invariably grow tired of getting the short end of the stick and ultimately resolve it’s counter-productive to be themselves.  This usually results with those individuals morphing into that bitter elderly neighbor most of us have encountered at one point who snarls at small children warning them to, “Stay out my yard!”

Okay, perhaps I’m getting a bit ahead of myself as it is neither appropriate nor intended to condemn anyone for having a generous nature, regardless of the outcome.  If anything, liability would rest upon the heads of those who’d seek to exploit the kindnesses of the inherently good.  Many consider “nice” people soft or weak and often set out on a quest to, sometimes subconsciously, take advantage of them to the end of selfish gain.

When a friend approaches on the first occasion and petitions for your help whether it’s emotionally, financially, or by way of other means, it isn’t considered much of a stretch to help them if circumstance permits.  To a genuine friend it’s not all that unthinkable to step in and assist for a second, third, right on up to the fifth occasion or more.

As is the unfortunate case, people will often develop something of a slothful countenance when they realize it’s easier to seek a handout than make an honest effort to help themselves.  We quickly realize our attempts to aid only serve to mask a much larger issue as the problem or need becomes greater with each passing incident.

It’s not so unrealistic that there have been cases when an otherwise hardworking person thought to have his life in order has habitually opted to pursue avenues that sometimes have unthinkable repercussions.  Consequently, in the case of family, the situation eventually takes on the shape of the “elephant in the room” that nobody dares approach or discuss.  Where it concerns friends, they end up being shunned and avoided due to the fact everybody knows what’s going to happen each time the person shows up someplace.

Throwing money at financial problems won’t solve them as the root issue typically lies with something quite severe that frequently proves more detrimental than anyone could have imagined.  Emotional, psychological and social matters cross into a completely different realm where a viable solution has to, not only be sought as relative to each respective case, but also willingly received by the person enveloped in the controversy.  It’s relatively easy for us to scoff at someone else’s situation and reason that we have the answers to obstacles in their lives but the solution isn’t always as simple as black and white.

There are two people who live in other states that have endured financial hardship on several occasions over the past few years.  In contacting all their “friends” who pooled resources, made sacrifices, and helped in each incident, as friends most often do, but neither of those in need would take heed to counsel.  As such, the vicious debilitating cycle persisted until the count of friends greatly diminished and help from those remaining no longer proved sufficient.  It’s been more than a week that I’ve attempted contact, tried relaying messages, and the like to no avail.

Sometimes we think we’re doing right in our quest to solve the world’s problems and eagerness prompts us to go overboard trying to aid every cause.  Consider the fact our Lord, who has the capacity to see and “fix” all things, doesn’t move at our every whim.  When He deems it unnecessary, we might realize there hasn’t been any divine help dispatched from above.  Many times our desire to help surpasses the act of assisting and we don’t realize it becomes a matter of enabling.  I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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