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Trying to help those that do not want to be helped...

When I was a teenager I took a Red Cross course to become a certified life guard. I can still recall, decades later, the warning about how to help a drowning person.  We were taught to reach (with a rescue pole or oar), throw (a rescue tube or line),  row (that is, “row a boat to them”) and finally, and only as a last result, jump in—-i.e. get in the water to help them.

The obvious danger is that a person that is drowning might grab onto a would-be rescuer and cause them both  to drown.   But it appears that some of our social experts were never life guards.  I see a lot of time, money and political efforts being spent to help many folks that are victims of abuse, homelessness and poverty—but the victims still seem to be drowning and are even pulling others underwater with them.  The humanitarian efforts of a lot agencies might be well intended, but I don’t think it’s working. That knowledge by no means become an excuse to not offer help those hurting,  but it’s better to reach, throw or row than to make matters worse.

It’s heartbreaking, but I just had to again ask a family in need to leave our property; they would not abide by some basic guidelines for living here. We often help folks with free housing and even meals, but ask that they respect some rudimentrary rules about respecting our facilities and our commitment to keep this place a “holy haven”.   Some guests will not do what’s requested and have to be asked to leave; it’s never a pleasant thing to ask someone to vacate a house or apartment——it makes me sick to my stomach. After all, who am I to judge someone’s habits and lifestyle—even if their choices are keeping them in poverty or bad health.

But this is not some phenomena on the planet. Mankind did not enter these episodes of self-destruction just this year and people did not learn how to avoid work and responsibility in the modern world alone.  This kind of behavior is common ever age in history.

Even in the early church, at the height of the excitement and growth of the early community of believers, some brothers and sisters in Christ “played the system”.  Peter, Paul and the apostles saw through the ploys of those that would not help themselves and declared simply:  “If you don’t work, you  don’t eat.”   The apostles did not have a lack of compassion for the lazy members of the church, and were, in fact, showing more love than those that would preferred to rescue folks that end of taking advantage of the  church.

To suggest that an able person is incapable of becoming a productive part of our society or unable to learn how to take care of themselves and their own household is contrary to 4000 years of biblical teaching and will destroy mankind’s ability to live together as a community.  This elitist judgment of a person’s heart and mind will keep the poor, poor and the unskilled, unskilled.  God has established in our souls a satisfaction and sense of purpose that springs from adding to, not taking away from, our community. We all need to work…..and do our work as unto God.  That’s what the “blueprint” of our souls require.


Dean Barley

1945 Vineyard Road

Westfield, NC 27053

336 351 2070

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