I've noticed something that both encourages me, and troubles me. I'm encouraged when I see people wanting to reach out, to do something to make a difference, to help another person in need. That's what we as the body of Christ are supposed to be doing and so few do it that I can't really fault anyone who is at least trying to be helpful. But it does trouble me when I see those good intentions fall short of their intended goal.
I've seen it each year when I take a group of people to an Indian reservation for a short-term mission trip. Each year there are "problem people" on board. They whine, they complain, they criticize me behind my back because things aren't going the way they think they should go. Or there are people who are infactuated with American Indian culture and want to go for that reason. Regardless of how often I tell them that "it's not about THEM", there are always some who just don't get it.
I've seen it too when I've collected things to be taken to the local homeless shelter. People will bring in the worst of what they have. It's as if they take the opportunity to clean out their pantry and bring in whatver they no longer want. One man even brought in peanut butter that was 2 years past the expiration date. In collecting items to take to the hurricane victims, people brought in old ratty clothes - used underwear even. To their credit, the storm victims accepted it graciously, but I cringed inside when we unloaded the truck. Those people had lost everything but they still had their diginity and giving them the things we would otherwise throw away just seemed .... well, wrong.
Currently in our church there is a lady who wants to do something for the children of Grand Isle who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Her intentions are good and I am glad to see that someone cares enough to try. But again, I think she is going about it in a less than helpful manner. She is collecting money from people at church to give $20 worth of WalMart gift cards to each of the kids for Christmas. Great idea. Not. First, there is not a WalMart near Grand Isle so it may be difficult for the kids to redeem the "gifts". Second, rather than help the local economy get back on it's feet, we are merely supporting our local WalMart. The money will stay right here in Ohio.
I've wondered about why our efforts to give and help often fail and while I'm not in a position to judge anyone's motive, I do wonder if wrong motives are a big reason for our failure. Too often it seems that our giving is not real giving because it's still about us and what we think should happen.
A lot of it I think is simple ignorance. People don't know how to give effectively. They mean well, but they make the common mistake of thinking that what they think is helpful, really is. They do things they can feel good about rather than thinking about how it will affect those they are trying to help. The result is, they leave feeling good about themselves for having done a good deed, while the person/people they are trying to help are left with something less than helpful. I know they mean well, but so did my aunt who constantly criticiszed me also "meant well" but her biting remarks did little to edify me.
Sorry this post is so garbled. I'm running on very little sleep and not really enough time to say what I want to say in the way I want to say it. Maybe I'll edit later. Or maybe not. ;)
- My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.