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The Lie We’d All Like to Believe

I’m sure someone else is (or will) help them.

There it is. The lie we’d all like to believe.

A few weeks back, I was with two men I had just met. They mentioned they had a third pastor friend who had a fair amount of debt from his seminary education. Both men shared real concern for the burden this placed on the young pastor and his family.

Near the end of the conversation, one of the men made the statement I’ve often heard and have probably said myself, “well, I’m sure someone else is helping them.” Why is it that idea comes so easily to us? Here’s what I think. It allows us to “pass by” the problem, like the first two religious leaders who passed the victim in the story of the Good Samaritan. That thought allows us to assuage our guilt about not wanting to get involved, by believing, for sure someone else will help them out. “God will provide.” (Just not me!)

“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” James 2:14-16

Does that mean we Christians have to help every person that has any need? No, it doesn’t. Here are some other options;

  1. Talk to the person in need. Try to understand what they need and if they have family or friends who could help them.

  2. Gather some people who know the person in need and let them know the nature of the need and ask each to pray about helping.

  3. Pray personally about your own responsibility to help. You don’t have to cover all the debt or expenses, and perhaps can’t. But anything will help.

  4. If they’ve accumulated debt over a long time, ask if they have a budget. Perhaps you could make a condition for helping, that this person attends Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

Offer to be an advocate and counselor, not an ATM!

But whatever you do, don’t tell yourself the lie, that someone else may be helping, unless you know for a fact that’s true.

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” Proverbs 3:27

How following Jesus works in real life.

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