This reasoned question applies to every adult, especially state and federal law makers, bureaucrats, service providers in nonprofit organizations, and even law enforcement officials around us.
Or better put, it applies to every income earner, big or small.
I intentionally highlighted the word adult because non-judgmental generosity is a great reflection of one’s maturity and decency.
We should help because our help is needed and can positively transform lives, not just because helping makes us feel good about ourselves and our place in society.
We should readily help because the life of a poor, weak, jobless, hungry or afflicted neighbor is more precious than the beefy biases, stratifications and social engineering that can sometimes undermine it.
No Child’s Play
Of course, it is not easy to help people we don’t like, more so if they (or those who look like them) offended us in the past or fall into stretched stereotypes that present imaginary or actual threats to our sensibilities.
Anybody who says it is easy to employ a recovering drug addict or rent an apartment to a felon without credit history is not admitting the truth.
Many are more likely to help those they (know, trust and) like than those they dislike. And beyond that, many have the tendency to help only those they think can repay them in cash or kind – which, regrettably, makes their help a kind of transaction.
But our world is such that not everyone is in a position to repay our good deeds, and everyone is not bound to like our preferences, values, mannerisms, opportunities (or lack of them) and worldview – even when they are predicated on widely (and long) held traditions.
Even one’s intra-faith tradition can cause others to treat one with dislike or even disdain, thus making it hard to offer much-needed help.
Needs That Speak All Languages
Yet, the glaring needs of the poor, weak and afflicted around us speak all languages of true faith and true conscience.
A blazing humanitarian need – like homelessness or hunger in bitter cold weather – does not deeply care about the appellations, talking points or social affiliations of the person who meets it or chooses not to.
A blazing humanitarian need cries out for help from whoever can give it within the confines of extant law. And it cries with subdued expectations because – living in vibrant communities that have long rendered hermitic life irrelevant – help should never be far away.
Children of our neighbors should never stay awake at night because of hunger or untreated illness. Seniors should never worry about being alone and helpless. Able-bodied veterans should never go without good jobs that can make the best use of their skills. Teenage girls should never be dehumanized (and thus forced to contemplate dropping out of school or even suicide) because they made the big mistake of getting pregnant out of wedlock. And women trafficked for labor or sex should never remain in torturous bondage in our vicinity.
Help should come – and come fast.
Remember the much-sermonized parable of the Good Samaritan? Well … the Good Samaritan had strong cultural reasons to dislike the man who was in dire need. He had ample geopolitical justifications to ignore the man’s blazing need for medical care and go about his profitable business. Thankfully, he chose to do the right thing. He chose to become sacrificially generous to a man he could have conveniently disliked.
Good People Next Door
I am glad that there are many Good People around us today. I know that because each year, thousands volunteer their valuable skills and time at our various facilities, kindly serving people they could have easily disliked or ignored. I know that because thousands send us donations in money and materials to support our work of daily helping over 2200 men, women and children in our community who have fallen on hard times.
Sometimes, I wonder what would have become of our former clients who are now multiple award winning singers, admired law enforcement officers, and value-creating business owners if they hadn’t received the help they desperately needed.
Though probably disliked by some people (who felt unconcerned) in their time of homelessness, hunger and hurt, non-judgmental help still found its way to them.
Today, even those who may have disliked them are benefiting from the fruits of their transformation – enjoying their chart-busting songs, taking family members to savor their restaurant delicacies, listening and sharing their uplifting sermons, et al.
So, should you help only those you like?
You should help anyone in need however, wherever and whenever you can, and without expectation of any earthly reward.