The Cost of “Help”

“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship


Life happens. There are financial circumstances that affect even the most stalwart of savers….

It could be due to a lay off. Maybe it is due to Social Security withholding a payment. It could be some poor addict spent his money satisfying an addiction. Maybe it is the financial hardship caused by the effort of creating a new home or battling DHHS for custody of their children.

No matter if we feel the reason for a situation is justified or not, it still exists, and sometimes it can be life threatening.

When a person goes into the community seeking help, what is not spoken of is the resources spent trying to find help. Often, people overlook the time and frustration invested, the gas exhausted or the money spent on taxis, just to go to a place where help may or may not be available.

The title “Charity” does not mean “infinite resources.” Though charitable organizations strive to fulfill the basic needs of those contacting them, each person helped, each meal given, each dollar spent is taken away from a larger budget that could go into more social programs that helps the whole community, in general.

It is a careful balance between the needs of the many and the needs of the few.

The cost of seeking help also has an emotional toll, as well. The act of asking for help means that life has become unmanageable in some way and you lack the skills or resources to handle the problem, at hand. This diminishes the overall self-worth and feeling of pride that people feel when their lives are in perfect order.

It is in these times in people’s lives when the word “No” also means you’re not important enough, you’re not intelligent enough, you’re not valuable enough to society to have your need, no matter how necessary, fulfilled. This may not be the intention, but this is the result.

Often, the simple act of seeking assistance leads to people being diminished in society’s view. It is a common thing for me to hear complaints about charitable organizations helping to keep the impoverished, the addicted, the mentally ill, in their state and not really help the issue.

These same people have the luxury of a comfortable home, a good family, and equitable employment. It is easy to complain about society’s issues, when you place yourselves above and not participate in it.

When I asked one of my “well off friends” what he thinks we should do to help the situation, his reply was:

“We could just keep them in Jail. There they can get the shelter, food, and clothing that they need.”

Unfortunately, according to the statistics, that is what many organizations in our government have been doing, to begin with.

Continued in “Justice Or Revenge What Is The Fire And Who Is The Fuel?”

This ACLU report presents the results of a yearlong investigation into modern-day “debtors’ prisons,” and shows that poor defendants are being jailed at increasingly alarming rates for failing to pay legal debts they can never hope to afford.”-