Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ever Feel Taken Advantage Of?

Most of us have a big heart; we want to help others when we can. For Christians involved in outreach ministry it is simply a way of life. But whenever we’re involved in helping others, we can sometimes get taken advantage of. This is especially true in prison ministry. Desperate people, especially those who don’t know and trust in the Lord, will sometimes use others.

Jesus tells us in Luke 6:30 to, “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” Jesus wants us to have a giving spirit. He does not want us to hoard items for ourselves. And further down in that chapter Jesus also says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36).

Did you catch this part, “He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked”? Is Jesus saying to keep giving to those who don’t appreciate your efforts and who go about doing evil?

Yes… and no, because, God also gave limits to our giving:  “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10.)  Sadly, there are people who want to live with no accountability and who are irresponsible. Yet there has to be limits. It is wrong for us to be a part of enabling another to continue in a destructive or negative chronic life pattern.  

To know when to assist and when not, all hinges on knowing the Holy Spirit. Believers of Christ have the Spirit living on the inside of us, giving us discernment and wisdom. We are nudged to do things that make no sense to the unbeliever, but we trust that God will work it all out for His good. In order to be sensitive to the will of God it is imperative to stay in prayer and in the Spirit. As long as we see that someone is sincerely making an effort, we should be there to support him in whatever way God leads.
And that is the key, being alert to God’s leading. He will tell us when the door is open, when we are to go through the door, and when the door is shut. The door to understanding God’s promptings “hinges” on our closeness to Him.

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