WORDS FROM W.W. “The Suspicions of Good Intentions”

There’s a paranoia that is gripping more and more of the inhabitants of our communities. It’s a suspicious paranoia about people who desire to do good. The tragedy is that this suspicion is not unwarranted. There have been a number of experiences in recent years of so-called “Good Samaritans” who have cheated people out of money and possessions.

Without going into a lengthy story, a couple of months ago I was approached by a young man and sixty-ish woman who were looking for financial help. As the story goes, her Social Security check was late in arriving and they just needed a little money to get some groceries.

Just didn’t feel right! Maybe it was the fact that she was standing there smoking a cigarette with a 7-11 Big Gulp in her other hand that made me a little pessimistic about the need, but I just…kept…walking.

Rip-off artists are in greater numbers these days than artistic artists. (I’m not sure if “artistic artist” is really a title or not. It’s kind of like saying “he’s a baking baker” or “she’s a drawing cartoonist.”) We’ve all been burned by somebody. There are so many checks that have gotten lost, evidently, in the mail! And they seem to strangely get lost after we’ve forked over the money loan to the other person.

Can you feel “the burn”?

And so the ripple effect is that good intentions are scrutinized, analyzed, and even rejected. It was evident in the wide range of reactions that people from our church received last Sunday when we went out into the neighborhoods around our church building and gave out packets of flower seeds. It was intended to be a gift to our neighbors as a way of saying “Happy Easter.”

Some people were touched and deeply appreciative.

Others responded that they attended a different church. Understand that the purpose was not to get them to change churches, but simply give them a gift that could be used to help beautify our neighborhood, but…some church folk immediately went to the “I attend another church” trump card.

Some people weren’t interested.

At one house our people heard a number of people talking inside, rang the doorbell, and then heard the people inside debating about who was going to get up and answer the door. Nobody did.

A couple of people said they weren’t interested in giving a donation. Hey! We hadn’t even hinted that we were interested in receiving a donation. They just assumed that since they were receiving a gift that we were going to ask for money.

It’s a new challenge for the people of God. It’s not that we’re “do-gooders.” It’s that we desire to do good, to help others. Good intentions are a good thing. Jesus himself said, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” (Mark 10:45)

But, of course, people were a little wary of the early believers. Acts 5:13 says that “No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.” But then it goes on. “Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought their sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.” (Acts 5:14-15, NIV)

There will always be the suspicious, the doubtful, even the bittered, but there will also always be the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Over time, and through an abundance of prayer, the suspicious may very well take notice of our good intentions. It may not even be noticed until later…later as in, we’ve already passed by and they are simply looking at the backside of our shadows as we’re helping the next person along the way.

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One Comment on “”

  1. Friar_Tuck Says:

    Well written. I have had a similar experience with a “Totally Free Car Wash”. People still thought it was about the money, when infact it was about serving

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