Tragically, it is possible to become hardened to human need!!! We can walk past the homeless, the beggar, the needy and become dismissive! We can use the excuse that there are so many that “stage need” and are actually “working the emotions” of others. They’re not actually in need, we tell ourselves, they are preying on the generosity and compassion of others. And to our shame, we become calloused and insensitive!
True, there are people who do prey on the sympathies of others. And some of the most needy are not out on the street begging – they are huddled alone trying their best to get a job, find a place to live, and feed a family.
But that doesn’t mean we can, as Christians, harden our hearts and ignore the needs around us! In my Bible reading during “coffee with the Lord” today I read this challenge in Psalm 82…
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless! Maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute! Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked!” (From Psalm 82:3–4 ESV)
And as I was reflecting on those words, I was reminded of a probing, penetrating passage in the New Testament… “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth! (From 1 John 3:17–18 ESV)
Granted, I cannot help EVERYONE! But I can depend on the Holy Spirit to prompt me to help SOME who are in need! And just take it from me, I’d rather make a mistake and be taken advantage of, than develop A HARD HEART!!!