Thursday, December 25, 2008

Giving Tip #12-- Don't Give Toward Others' Destruction

Giving sugar to a diabetic would not be an act of love, but of apathy or hatred. Even so, giving money so someone can continue a drinking or drug binge isn’t compassion, but hatred. Don’t give to people in a way that would cause them to destroy themselves or others.

In following this principle, I have made it a policy to very rarely give money to people. I found—with myself as with others—that cash is too easily diverted to what is wanted in the immediate rather than what is needed. If someone needs help with their rent—pay the landlord. If someone needs food—give them food, not cash. To those holding signs by an onramp, I have a supply of nutrition bars that I can hand them. If someone is panhandling, I will often ask them what they need and try to provide the need, rather than cash. In this way, we can be meeting the need that we know, not supplying the destructive habit that we don’t know.

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