People Will Be Who They Are Despite Your Opinion of Them
Do you think poor people are lazy and selfish?
I'll admit it - I'm guilty.
The truth is: some people living in poverty probably are those things and they are also probably a lot MORE than those things.
The problem is: I don't get to make that judgement, and even if I did, my opinion doesn't change anyone.
Here's something to think about: The people you want to change probably have an opinion about you, too. Ouch.
Family members, friends, co-workers and strangers in the grocery store are constantly gathering information and forming opinions. It's how we humans work.
Whether or not they know you personally, people living in poverty have opinions about those of us living in middle class homes, making middle class incomes:
"They just got lucky."
"They had a better start than me."
"They don't have problems."
Some of those opinions might have truth to them. Others might be downright wrong information or completely unfair judgements. The upper class has their thoughts about the spending habits of the middle class as well. No one is off the hook here. We can all come up with reasons for why the other group is doing things "wrong". It's a complicated web we weave.
I'm glad for the complex nature of humans. It keeps things interesting, but oftentimes there are some very straightforward answers to the problems we face and I find many of them in God's Word. While it isn't easy to share what I've been given, it is pretty simple. Jesus gave us a very uncomplicated list of instructions.
According to Jesus, here's my job:
BE GRATEFUL (Psalm 107: 1)
THANK GOD FOR WHAT YOU HAVE (1 Chronicles 16: 8)
SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE (Hebrews 13: 16)
TRUST GOD TO PROVIDE (Jeremiah 7: 7-8)
It's easy to think of all the ways that others can "waste" your generosity. What if those who receive are foolish spenders? What if they use our gifts to do more harm than good? Those are valid questions. They are also not our job to answer. Our job, according to scripture, is to give wisely and generously. The Holy Spirit's job is to counsel and convict on the other side of our giving.
I obey the call to give because I love my Father and I follow where He leads. I don't have to worry about the rest.
Living generously will never be easy, but when I remind myself that what happens on the other side of my sacrifice is not my burden to bear, it makes the giving so much more joyful.