I heard some disappointing news recently about a guy who was just trying to do the right thing in life by continuing to reach out and help others solely because he cared, only to see it backfire on him.
This person was a volunteer at a local soup kitchen who by all means had a completely tarnish-free life. He simply was a beautiful soul who was regularly moved by God to help others and had been for some time. During the course of his volunteer work, he befriended an impoverished individual and got to know them pretty well over many months of seeing them at the soup kitchen. On one particular day, that individual asked him if they and one of their friends could get a ride to the store. He of course immediately said yes, given his good nature. Yet, during that very ride, he was pulled over by the police because his new acquaintance’s friend was actually a well-known criminal with a drug history. And unfortunately, for the man who was humbly providing the two of them a ride because of his big heart, drugs were discovered stashed in his car that were definitely not his. Now, this very same giving gentleman has been put on suspension from his job, has a misdemeanor looming over his head, and is having to spend time in court fighting all this. The result? He says that when this is all over, he will never provide charitable rides for anyone again. The sad thing about this is that I definitely can relate to his decision and I’m sure many others can as well.
With the drug craze and people either on them or dealing them, reaching epic proportions in recent years, this isn’t the first occasion of me hearing about something like this happening. And the more I do, the more I too find myself withdrawing from doing charitable acts I once might have done without blinking an eye.
The truth is, I personally don’t offer rides anymore to people I don’t know nor do I allow any strangers into my home. I have seen far too many examples lately of police arresting and even shooting people that were innocent just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The downside of all this, of me making decisions that are not as charitable and open-hearted like this wrongly-arrested man has now made with himself, is of course limiting the ability of God to work through me. It’s depressing really and something I struggle with every day, as I truly do want to be nothing more in this world then an extension of God’s love. But, given the suffering I’m already going through in life with my health, I honestly can’t take any more and can only imagine how much worse it’d be having to face criminal charges for something I didn’t do.
So, I currently am choosing to keep my volunteer work to speaking at various detox centers, being a sponsor to others in the 12 Steps, and occasionally donating money to those in need. Beyond that, like offering strangers rides or providing shelter for them in my home is something I’m choosing to not do at this time. I only pray that God understands and forgives me for this self-imposed limitation and does as well with others who impose them on themselves like this charitable individual now has.
Hopefully one day, I won’t feel the need to limit my charity for safety’s sake anymore. I know it comes down to fear and worry, which I’m sure I can and will overcome the more I allow God to transform my life. And the more I do, the more I will most likely find all of those self-imposed charitable limitations removed from my life, because it’s then I will be nothing more than that extension of God’s love where fear and worry don’t exist, no matter what happens to me…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson