People love to help! Sometimes what was meant for good turns out to be anything but good. Has someone ever tried to help you and it became a disaster? They were simply trying to be a good Samaritan…or maybe you were the one trying to help.
But sometimes we are not called to help. Sometimes the best way to help is by NOT helping. There are times when we are not supposed to lend money, not give them a ride, not watch their children, and not give advice.
Jesus said, “do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet” (Matthew 7:6). That’s tough advice! We want to help. But sometimes we will be trampled on.
When my children were learning to walk I would hold their hands and help them walk across the room. But one day I let go. They took a few steps and fell on their bottom. And then I watched them get up and try again. If I had never let go, then they never would have learned to walk.
Adults are like that too. Sometimes we help so much they never learn to walk. But we are called to love people and bear one another’s burdens. So how do we know when we are not supposed to help?
I think for starters we need to stop and reflect and ask ourselves some questions. Why are we trying to help? Does it bring glory to God? Do our actions and words edify Christ?
Does our help empower the other person to grow and be encouraged? Does the person become more dependent on God? Or have they become more dependent on us? Does your help encourage them to helps others in return?
God calls us to love one another. We are supposed to bear one another’s burdens. But that command is always in the context of helping one another grow in Christ-likeness so that the Church may be built up in mature faith. If that is not happening, then God may be trying to tell you to help by not helping.
Yet discernment comes through continual prayer. Seek God! Err on the side of love, for “love covers a multitude of sin” (1Peter 4:8).