Everyday Life

Is it possible...


...for we as Christ redeemed believers to be "taken advantage of" in terms of kindness and charity? This thought has been keeping me awake at nights and challenging me in my day to day encounters with those around me for the last several months.

1 of the many situations that caused this whole conversation with myself...
A needy neighbor whom I wanted to share Christ with needed a ride somewhere...I willingly agreed...then the next day she wanted some food...I was overjoyed to share or my abundance with her...the next day she needed to come in and vent...I hesitated b/c I don't do well in those situations b/c I know nothing I say will help unless this woman allows Christ to radically consume and change her thinking, but I gladly accept her into my home...the next day she needs a ride somewhere else, the next day she is asking me to cosign a loan (which I explained we don't do for anyone...including ourselves)...and then the next day... ...

I am sure many of you are familiar with this scenario. There are needy people all around and my immediate fear is that I will be taken advantage of by "these" people.
I have asked several people for their thoughts on this recently...and I must admit that I have heard several words of concern...but no scriptural foundation apart from being a good steward.
I have been thinking through this and would like to know some of your thoughts on the topic.
Can we as Cross focused believers, who claim that all we are - is found in Christ, and all we have - is from Christ, and all we do - is for God's glory, continue to embrace the mindset of caution due to "being taken advantage of" as we go about our daily lives?
As I have reflected back over scripture...I notice just how completely and utterly Christ was "taken advantage of", yet he continued about doing the "Work of the Father".
Any thoughts for me as I process this thought?
I would love some dialogue from those of you who read this post...AnneBrumbaugh@gmail.com

4 comments:

TwoMuths said...

Michael and I were JUST talking about this today - I think the answer would be no, we can't be taken advantage of unless doing for others outside of your family comes before meeting the needs of your family. Jesus said that anyone who does not provide for his own family has denied the faith. (1 Tim 5:8) For sure, MY comfort level would be intruded long before my family's actual needs went unmet. I definitely need to be more selfless and giving like Christ is to me. This is a good reminder - one I will think about in the days to come. Thanks! :-)

Beth said...

I think of my parents IMMEDIATELY when i read this post! You know they always have some strange person spending the night or staying at their house for extended periods of time. some would say that's completely unwise and irrational and unsafe! they even did that when we were living at home. growing up at Calvary- right on the side of the busy interstate- brought TONS of opportunities to be taken advantage of and that's just how my parents and others there looked at it- OPPORTUNITIES to be taken advantage of for Christ! I remember lots of times, but one time in particular when dad "loaned" $300 to a man and his family who were living in a nasty smelly falling apart bus. they parked their bus at our church for about a week and fixed up some stuff and ate our food, etc and then vanished one night. I know my dad never saw his $300. yet he did it again the next time the opportunity came up. they showed Christ in real felt ways to others and most especially to us! ... just my thoughts for now on the subject!

(p.s. jonas and ella still pray for a lady and her kids that we gave a ride to in the pouring rain in our neighborhood that "they could buy a car"!)

Karis said...

We have been wrestling with this very issue every since we arrived in Cameroon. It is absolutely overwhelming to know what to do to help those who we do know let alone those who come and knock at our gate begging for help who we don't have a connection with. We have also received many warnings that we need to use discernment so as not to do more harm than good so we're processing that as it has come from veteran missionaries.

We've already learned some lessons from one couple in our church that we have tried to help as wisely as we could and then had to fight the fleshly feelings when we realized that we had been taken advantage of or that we were being viewed as a "free ATM machine" or even that we were spoken negatively about when we didn't help someone even after we had several other times. God used being "taken advantage of" to show me sin in my heart as my reaction to is was not Christlike.

Since I know you are very thrifty (I would consider myself to be as well and I think it is soooo very fun), I thought I would add this although I'm not saying that you struggle with this too! Sometimes I struggle with helping people out of our abundance after we have said no to "extras" when they are in need because they have said yes to extras before they took care of their needs. Again, though, it's my heart that needs to be inspected as it should not be keeping score.

I viewed a link of John Piper talking about the right way to be rich. 1 Tim. 6:18 -- be rich in good deedds. http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/AskPastorJohn/ByTopic/8/3617_What_is_the_right_way_to_be_rich/
I'm not sure if that link is going to come through right. If not, sorry. Anyway, I'm not in the "rich" camp, but every month by God's enablement, we've been able to save back part of our grocery budget and our housing budget by choosing to say no to things we could "afford" (and He's kept us from extra bills). Out here, that would be considered rich -- we are able to take care of our needs and help others too. So, I guess I am rich although not in the way John Piper was talking about. One part of the clip, "Go ahead, succeed all you want. Make all you want. But don't keep all you want, and don't buy all the symbols of wealth." I heard this in my scenario as "Go ahead. Be as careful as you can with what God has entrusted you with. Say no to things that you can afford but choose not to buy. Think of the future, but don't keep all you want. Don't hoard it all away for you."

This got really long. Sorry, but I have really been struggling with this because the girl I've gotten the closest to here doesn't have food in her house on a regular basis, they have no electricity and often don't have money for kerosene for light at night for her to study, they don't have running water and often don't have money to buy water (yucky water -- unfiltered out of a pump but that's what they have to use), they get malaria but have no money for medicine, and on and on I could go. We have helped them out several times because I am so close with her, but we are really praying for wisdom in this. Even beyond the problem of being taken advantage of... I gotta' stop.

I was very encouraged by your post. As Christians, we should have a different perspective than "the average person who likes to do good things for people."

Bethany said...

Annie - Thanks for this thought provoking post. I enjoyed reading the dialogue from your other readers. Something to consider...

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