After being up until beyond 3:00 a.m. the night before, Sandra and I resumed work first thing last Saturday morning. This was in an effort to complete the final touches necessary for finishing a large order for T-shirts that she’d received the previous week.
It was somewhat surprising to have one of the gentlemen who’d once lived across the street knock at our front door. He inquired as to whether we had anything to eat and explained having been without food for a couple of days. Sandra answered the door but explained we’d not prepared anything due to our involvement in work being done for a client. She did, however, confirm the fact our son had recently left to pick up food for the grands and specified the gentleman could have some of the food upon his return.
Minutes later, Sandra took up a plate and delivered the food to the former neighbor who had taken up sleeping on the porch of the unoccupied house next door to the one where he’d previously lived. She returned several minutes later to report the circumstances regarding the gentleman’s position seemed to have deteriorated even more. He’d last passed by us one evening the week before in search of a blanket to keep warm. While we were discussing and looking for a means by which it might be possible to assist him, he returned to ask for more food but the children hadn’t left any.
Then it occurred to me what I’d been told earlier that same day when posing a question to a police officer regarding our desire to help the gentleman. At the point I had detailed the person’s situation, the patrol woman cautioned against our being so willing to open ourselves up to a possible liability claim. She listed the legitimacy of a potential false claim of injury by the previous neighbor if he was to even be allowed on our property. It wouldn’t take very much, she said, for the man to fake hurting himself while leaving our house which could result in our being enthralled in a great deal of legal controversies.
Of course, as professed Christians, our being advised along these lines represented an issue for us. A number of the neighbors have continued to express their desire to simply be free of the man’s presence. It has proven challenging for Sandra and me as the concept of Christianity that we have come to understand suggests being willing to help our neighbors. But what of the individual who admits to having made a plethora of mistakes, yet, refuses to make different choices or even truly accept full responsibility for his actions.
Scripture does direct that believers should lend a hand to the needy but there is also the verse that speaks against aiding in another man’s evil. One of the “Hidden books of the bible” known as the Apocrypha includes the book of Ecclesiasticus which details in 12:1-7, “When thou wilt do good know to whom thou doest it; so shalt thou be thanked for they benefits. Do good to the godly man, and thou shalt find a recompense; and if not from him, yet from the most High. There can no good come to him that is always occupied in evil, nor to him that giveth no alms. Give to the godly man, and help not a sinner. Do well unto him that is lowly, but give not to the ungodly: hold back thy bread, and give it not unto him, lest he overmaster thee thereby: for else thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done unto him. For the most High hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance unto the ungodly, and keepeth them against the mighty day of their punishment. Give unto the good, and help not the sinner.
Most believers, by default, are compelled to help by whatever means might be available but there are situations when enough is simply not enough as some individuals purpose to take advantage of those perceived as gullible.
To pose a question or share your opinion about this opinion, you can reach B. G. Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or P. O. Box 8103, Jacksonville, FL 32239.
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