Decisions need to be made. Hard decisions. The question I ask myself is how is our helping this person going to make a difference?
Sunday mornings' service included a plug for The Empty Plate drive. We buy bags of groceries to distribute to people who are in need. We read I John 3:16-18 together as a congregation. In the ESV it is written like this: "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth."
Love moves us to act on the behalf of those who are in need. A true need demands our loving attention. We, who are loved by God must love as He loves. But what is our love to look like when it becomes apparent that the need is never filled and there is no change in the hand that reaches out for more? I am not saying this about true needs like a person incapable of providing sustenance for life on his own. What do we do for able bodied, intelligent people who continue to choose a path that keeps them from becoming responsible for their own actions.
Could it be that their true need is not being met? Could it be that we are handing them what they want instead of giving them what they really need? To withhold my help may be exactly what they need to finally see their dead end road. Some people have called this tough love and it is. It is tough to see a loved one or even a stranger living a life wanting someone else to care for them, while they continue to enjoy their vices. It is tough for them to finally face their truth and do without the handout.
The next question arises as to when do we say "No?" Can we say no to some things and yes to others? How would Jesus handle the problem? This is certainly not an easy decision to make. We can only judge by the fruits, not by how we feel. We also must look for underlying needs instead of just the most obvious. The best way to decide is to converse with God in prayer.
All-Knowing and All-Loving Father, You alone can see and know the hearts of men. You alone can see and know their true needs. You know me, and still I ask You to search my heart and see if there is any offensive wicked way in me that needs to be corrected in this struggle. I want to obey your word and yet, I so often try to play Your part instead of seeking Your wisdom to know my part in helping others. Thank You for supplying all our needs, even the needs of those who seem so needy. You may call me to supply their needs, so I ask You to show me the way. Teach me Your truth and help me discern needs from wants not only in others but in myself!