As humans, as normal human beings, we have the inherent character of providing help to others. Not only do we feel responsible but helping other makes us feel good about ourselves. For many it is the accolades they receive while for others it is just the sense of accomplishment. The helping I am talking about here is not just money; it is also about your time, your work, your advice or even your listening ear.
Whether the person asking for your help is genuinely in need of it or not is up to your discernment. Though the act of helping is a very noble cause, I would advice discretion. Not everyone deserves help. In many cases, our good intentions results to the worsening rather than the improvement of the subject of our helping hand. And in many situations, that is the case.
We are always bombarded with the moral or righteous appeal to “help the poor”, “feed the poor’, “donate to the poor’, whatever. The question is “Who is really the poor that you should help?” Now here is my take on that. The poor that many perceive to be poor, the beggars in the street, the families in the slum, will always be poor as long as we give in to their begging. They will dress in their most impoverish attire, dirty, smelly, with a sorrowful demeanor, all those stuff, and prey on your good nature to sympathize with their misfortune in life most specially when you just came from church.
Who really deserves your help?
This is a scheme. This is business and science. And this requires a lot of skill. How so a scheme? You dress up as a poor, look the part and act the part, so like in many soap opera scripts, people who feel more comfortable in life will take pity on you, probably give you money or some loose change to feel they have done some good deed.
How so a business? If you can stand in a busy street where X amount of people pass thru each of your “working hour,” and one out of ten persons gives you an average of Y amount of money, you earn Z every hour then multiply by the number of hours you are working. You fill in the blanks and do the math from here. You are a good business person. And this is not just business, there is science involved here too. In fact, some foundations operate on these principles as well.
How so does it require a lot of skill? It is just like being an actor with all the costumes, props and the acting. Tell me, can you dress up in your most indigenous outfit and ply the streets all day for money? Most likely, you can’t. And in most cases, they belong to some syndicate group where a part of the money you gave goes to the syndicate and protection.
So what happens when we give in to these so called “beggars?” Instead of helping them improve their lives, we encourage them that begging is a thriving business (instead of them doing other productive work), we endanger their lives( because most of them ply the dangerous accident prone streets) and we egg them on to be society’s parasites. These are not the poor; these are opportunists, slackers, and scrounger. This is their occupation and we are their customers. Our help can be described more as irrelevant. The same goes when we give in to some scrupulous foundations.
So who is the poor that deserves our help? Well, it is you, me, your family, your friends, neighbors, relatives, business partners, office mates and other hard working people you may know who at some point in the life disaster, calamity, catastrophe, tragedy or misfortune strikes. These are the poor people that really need our help and in most cases they won’t even ask for it.
Being poor is not a permanent thing. At some point in our lives we may have had experience being broke, bankrupt, down on our luck, ruined or broken. In other words, at some point in our life we may have been poor. Do you remember those time you were down and really need help? And in some cases we were too embarrassed to ask for it.
Life is a cycle. We will never be always on top nor will we always be at the bottom. So the best thing is just to help someone who is at the bottom and who knows that same someone might be the person who will help you when you happen to be on the down.
The man whose house got burned and has no place to stay is right now called poor.
An officemate who just got terminated from work is going to be financially poor.
A buddy who is going thru a divorce is emotionally poor.
A friend got bankrupt from his business is poor.
A neighbor who just got robbed is poor.
But the term poor or the situation of being poor should be temporary. If you don’t strive and you remained dependent on others for help, you are no different from the “beggar” we were talking about. Being poor should only be a speed bump in this journey we call life. Helping the poor means helping someone close to us get through his/her brief setback. That way our help becomes significant or even life changing.
There is this cliché: It is better to give than to receive. Wisdom behind is that the giver has more than the receiver. In this case, you are better off helping than being the one in need of help.
With this, I should say let us always help others, but only those who really need true help.