Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Convicted

Why is it that I classify people the way I do? I saw a lady carrying bags of groceries across the mall parking lot in the sub-zero temperatures this afternoon. I was on my way home, and thought about stopping, but I didn't. "If she was a little more elderly, or if she didn't have a warm coat and hat, I would ask her if she needed a ride" I thought to myself as I drove on by. "If I knew that she had a long walk home, or if I knew for sure sure sure that she wasn't a murderer, then I would stop."

I am so convicted by what didn't take place this afternoon. I lacked compassion, even though it was only moments before I saw her that I had been freezing on my short walk from the grocery to my car.

I wish I would have stopped.
I wish I would have been more thoughtful.
I wish I was more in tune to the promptings God gives me to help people.

4 comments:

58734162 said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I apologize, I hit publish when I meant preview, so I missed spell check etc. I hope you can delete the first comment in favor of this corrected version.

In any event, I'm sure there are many opinions on the subject of making a sacrifice to help others in need, but I strongly believe that if you were alone in the car, you did the right thing.

Specifically, I believe your first responsibility is to maintain your own safety for the sake of your family. Protecting yourself so you can fulfill your role in your family is a higher calling and one that I suspect you actively committed to when you married (i.e. the vow to put your spouse first above all others for one comes to mind, even though this situation is not what you might ordinarily think of when you consider that vow).

Obviously, the presumption that drives my opinion is the fact that picking up strangers these days is a dangerous practice, even if the stranger looks needy and harmless. I can think of at least one tragic example that started in a grocery store parking lot with a needy looking person asking for a ride.

Anyway, I think that your duty to your family is more important than your duty to help others, and you shouldn't risk your ability to meet the higher need for the lesser in this case.

Now, I know that mind set could be used as an lame excuse for selfishness, but I don't mean to endorse ignoring the needs of others. Rather, I think we are called to evaluate the needs of others within the hierarchy of our existing relationships.

For example, I'm certain there are many people who rightly sacrifice their own safety and comfort to help others. I think that under the right circumstances, that type of sacrifice is called for, and even noble, but we need to be sure when we give something up that it was ours to give up in the first instance. If I take food from my plate to feed the hungry, I'm being generous, if I take food from the plates of my children to feed the hungry, I'm being presumptuous by being generous with something that is not mine to give.

katie holt said...

i think you did the right thing but i understand, i do the same thing. i think, 'man, i could have made that persons day by helping them get home.' there are so many times that i think that. its sad that it's such a risk, but i know what you mean. i feel the same thing.