Here is something to consider: A person in need does not care why you are helping. A woman whose car broke down doesn’t care about why you are giving her a ride to work. A man doesn’t care why you bought him a meal. They are happy to get help.
Some people talk a lot about our motives for helping people. Are they glorifying God or are they bring attention to us? While I believe that our motivations do matter (See Matthew 6.2-8) this debate/concern/discussion has nothing to do with who needs our help.
I’ve never met a person that needed help that said, “As much as I’d love to have you help me, I’m concerned about your motivations. Are you just doing this because you have some guilt about my condition in life compared to yours? Please don’t give me anything if you are doing it so you won’t feel guilty.” I don’t think a person in need is really concerned about those things. Again, I’m not saying our motivations do not matter, I just think we can get sidetracked about the whole issue.
In many of us there is something that awakens when we see people in need. That, I believe, is the Image of God in us. We respond to suffering of our fellow man. We will even risk our lives to help. Take a look at BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience. When pressed, we humans can do amazing things together.
Sadly, this image is badly scarred and allows us to mistreat and abuse our fellow humans. We can make discussing a person’s dire situation more important than helping the person. Worse, we can treat people like objects for our own personal pleasure and gain. Regardless, the need still exists and something must be done.
Take a look at what happens when people, total strangers, see a person in need:
They guy under the car did not care who was helping him or why. He didn’t care if there were Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Catholics, Protestants, Republicans, or Democrats lifting that car. He was glad they were there to help.
Here is an idea: Let’s consider that there are people less fortunate than us that need help. Then, we will make a commitment to help these people. Finally, we will check our attitudes and our reactions to how people receive our gifts letting Jesus begin the work of purifying our motivations. We can also pray that the Holy Spirit will be our witness through these acts of compassion and ministry and point to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Here’s the question: What is the worst thing that could happen?