How many times have you hesitated to help someone for fear they would use the money to buy drugs or alcohol? Have you given someone money only to find out later they have an addiction issue and wish you had never given them anything? A lot of people refuse to help anyone they suspect of being an addict. But what do you do when you truly feel led to help someone? Simple - you do it. It's of no consequence to you how they use the money. The gift and the goodness is in the giving itself- not what the gift is used for. Helping someone - regardless of their personal issues - should always be done with no strings attached. I call it: GIVING WITHOUT REGRET.
No one likes to be taken advantage of - it's a bad feeling. Knowing that you did something out of the goodness of your heart, only to find out that you were completely duped...well, let's just say "I've been there and done that" and I get it. But I've also learned that being "made the fool" has no bearing on my good intentions in giving nor does it negate the good Karma coming back to me for doing it, either. My life journey has led me to understand that it's all about the giving. Sometime the hardest part is the giving without regret: moving on and not concerning myself with what is done after I do my part.
Several years ago, a woman came to my house who had gone to school with my husband. She explained to us that she had a baby and needed money for diapers and formula. Having not seen her in years and not knowing her situation, my husband and I gave her what cash we had on hand. It was only maybe $25 - but at the time that was a lot to us as we were struggling financially. We gave because we felt it was the right thing to do. My heart told me that she genuinely needed help. A few days later, I saw the same woman asking a local business owner for money. He scolded her rather sternly and she quickly slipped out the door. Knowing the business owner, I was curious as to what was going on and asked him about the woman. "She's the biggest addict in town," he told me. When I told the business owner that I had given her money myself, he and a couple of employees had a big deep belly laugh at my expense. "She fooled you!" one employee chuckled. At that moment, I felt really stupid - mostly from everyone's laughter. But there was a little gnawing in my heart about the woman. What if she actually DID need things for her baby? How do these people know she was lying? What if, let's assume, she HAD spent her money on drugs and then really did need more money for her infant? I had still done the right thing. I gave to her out of a heart for HELPING. I decided then and there that if I truly felt led to help someone in the future, that I would. I understood that the role of the giver is simply to give. If the recipient is being deceptive - that's on them.
Not long ago, I saw a post on social media where a young woman was asking for help buying feminine products. Yes - she actually asked in a local group on Facebook. Kudos to her for the boldness, right? Anyway, a few ladies had answered and helped. Then came the "social uglies" as I like to call them. The "Debbie Downers." A whole bunch of people, who knew the woman locally, began to tell the women who had helped her that they had done the wrong thing. One lady who had helped felt especially humiliated. I tried to pass along my "giving without regret" concept. I tired to make her understand that she had done the right thing because she had done it with the right attitude - with the heart for helping and nothing else. My favorite reply out of all, however, came from a dear friend of mine personally. It summed up the NEED people have regardless of their issues. In response to a comment that said "She's a known druggie," my friend simply replied: "Don't druggies need tampons, too?" I blushed and laughed...and laughed some more. But how true, right? Who's to say that the woman didn't actually and desperately need the feminine products she was asking for?
Without a doubt, some of the most harsh, judgemental, and negative comments that I have seen on social media concerning this subject, come from the "church folks" themselves. The ones who have "Jesus Loves Me" memes and scripture on their personal pages. It shouldn't shock me at this point - but it always does. Those are the people who should be the first to give without regret! I mean, is their version of Jesus feeding the five thousand different from the one in my bible? Because the story I read says that Jesus fed every single person who came to see him speak - which was around 5,000 people - and even had enough FREE food on hand for everyone to take home. Did I miss the part where Jesus made everyone promise they wouldn't take the food and possibly trade it for wine later? Did he check them all out first and make sure he was giving to "honest" people? Did he make sure their income qualified them for a free meal? Did I miss that part? Really?
Now, before I finish, I have to address what I'm sure someone will point out: you can't keep giving and become an enabler. No, you can't - that's not helping them. An enabler is defined as "one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (such as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior." That's not what this is about. This is about an OPPORTUNITY and not enabling. The opportunity you have when someone crosses your path that needs help and something in your heart tells you to do it. That's when you do it and you give without regret. You don't worry about it past your part of giving.
Whether you call it Karma or the law of reaping what you sow, giving without regret and giving with sincerity is not only liberating, it's an investment with a great return - because when you give it comes back to you. Guaranteed. My grandmother is proof of this. She was a giving soul without prejudice. I've heard wonderful stories about her from the late 1930s to the 1950s. At that time, Grandma lived with her husband and small children in a modest house close to the railroad tracks. Back in that day, the homeless often "rode the rails" by slipping on train cars and going from town to town. Hobos they were called - and they were often alcoholics, addicts, the outcast and downtrodden of society. It was a regular occurrence for one of the hobos to knock on her back door near dinnertime and ask for a bite of food. Although my Grandparents were extremely poor and barely had enough to feed their own family, I have heard many people say that my Grandma never turned anyone away without food. If she didn't have any leftovers from dinner, she was known to whip up a batch of biscuits or a pan of cornbread "real quick like" (as we say in the south) and make sure every hobo had some supper. And not once did she ever ask if they had issues or addictions or ever judge. When I think of the hard times that I have gone through after becoming a single mom, and yet my children have never had to go without food, I have no doubt that we are still reaping from the good deeds of my grandma - from her own giving without regret.
I know this will ring true with some of you....and I hope it helps those of you who have struggled with giving. People with needs are going increase. Addiction is not going away. Help yourself by helping others. Please pass this idea along freely. Discover GIVING WITHOUT REGRET.