When helping others, are we just trying to help ourselves?

| May 13, 2016 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Capt.) Stacie Kervin
2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment
25th Combat Aviation Brigade
25th Infantry Division

I think, for the most part, we desire to help people. But is it possible to be too helpful? Can our helpfulness actually make life more difficult for others and ourselves?

Yes, if that help makes us bothersome, intrusive, smothering, manipulative or controlling. If the help we are giving is driven only by our own anxiety, we may be just trying to help ourselves.

How can we love from pure motives? We can ask if we’re hurting or hindering others.

Our efforts to help others, especially those we love the most, will never be completely free from anxiety. However, we can begin to love freely with no strings attached.

The measure of our progress is the way we react when our “helpfulness” is unrecognized or goes unrewarded.

This reminded me of the time when my friend Amanda came to me for counsel. She was upset because she was trying to help her friend, Alice, who was in need of a place to stay while in transition. Amanda allowed Alice to live with her for a few months.

“My friend began taking advantage of me by driving the car without refilling the gas, eating my food without replacing it, leaving the lights on in rooms that were not being used, and she never made any contribution in paying the electric bill,” Amanda said.

Frustrated after the first month, Amanda felt her friend was beginning to take advantage of her kindness. She wanted to be helpful because she understood the situation her friend was going through, and didn’t say anything. As the weeks went by, Amanda became more and more frustrated, until one night she confronted her Alice with an electric bill of $498.

Alice decided to move out the next day, leaving Amanda stuck with the debt of paying the utilities. So, Amanda questioned her help to Alice.

We have a tendency to want to help people, but sometimes our helpfulness can be more of a hindrance to ourselves and to those that we want to help.

If our motives are pure and what we do is for the good of others, we should expect nothing in return.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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