How Do You Really Help Someone?

How do you really help someone? Most people who have tried to help others have learned that helping someone is not as easy as it appears. In fact, sometimes it is almost impossible. No wonder “Good Samaritans” often speak of compassion fatigue.

I hope you read yesterday’s post about “A Story Worthy of Christmas.”  It will be well worth your time to read about Officer Lawrence DePrimo of the New York City Police Department. He went beyond his responsibility to help a shoeless, homeless man. Please click here to read the story and see a picture worth a thousand words.

Officer DePrimo’s story is a wonderful illustration of kindness and caring, but it’s not the end of the story.

The story has caught on all over the world, but in New York City it is one of the biggest stories of the year. The New York Times has given it front page status.

Several people have now seen the homeless man in the picture. His name is Jeffrey Hillman.

There’s just one problem. He’s still shoeless and still walking around on the heels of his feet. He has been seen by a number of people. According to Mr. Hillman he has hidden his shoes because he’s afraid someone might kill him for his shoes. One woman told the Times she had bought the same man a pair of shoes last year.

Mr. Hillman is not giving out much more information.

He is making it clear that it’s hard to help people in need.

What do you do in this kind of situation where you’ve done your best–like Officer DePrimo–and learned that your best is not good enough to really help someone?

You keep being faithful to God and His Word no matter what.

One of our readers reminded us of the teaching of James 2:14-17: “What  does it  profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what  does it  profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17 NKJV).

Tomorrow, I hope to help answer this question about how you help other people. I hope you will come to to read and think about this difficult conumdrum.

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5 Responses

  1. Alas, it seems you may be getting to the point of Wise Compassion in Christ, the explanation of The Apostle Paul in Romans 12:4-6, etc. Within the Body/Bride are design specialists. A successful 501c3 needs everyone of them to fulfill its mission and survive the changing economic, political and social landscape.

    Around 0300 hrs. this morning I woke up hearing my Mother calling me. Except, she is with my sister this week. She often calls out in the night, “Is someone there? I need help. Please help.” I have often reflected on the times since I have been at FBCC since Katrina when my wife was having open heart surgery, I was being sued, code changes were prosecuted, two family business were lost, there was a divorce in the family, my body was failing me, insurance rates were going up with property taxes and tenants were moving out after destroying both family and my personal property, adverse market actions, I was being attacked for standing up against dissembled actions of members of JCOA in Jefferson Parish and those in Parish office. Some of them you have read or heard about in the news and others you will. Of course this is going on while I am fighting for the life of my Mother, wife, children, grandchildren, JPM’s survival and helping others without being totally destroyed myself. Yes, Lamentations chapter 3 comes to mind with Ezekiel 33 and wrestles with Romans 12:21 till surrendering to Romans 12: 4-6.

    I was asked to submit a “White Paper” for a certain official to pursue the engineering concepts I offered when I ran for public office in 2003 and again in 2007, however, no one offered their resources to facilitate the task. Such a presentation takes time, focus, as well as resources. The ideas were put into the political arena. Some were mentioned in the Newspaper. The people have spoken and evidently so has “organized religion.” I have been privileged to be in the company of others who have fought the good fight to the finish and I know I am responsible for at least one ending his life with dignity. Now I wait on The Church to show up, as it always has. Thanks be to God in Christ Jesus!

    Romans 12:3, 9-14.

  2. Waylon,

    Glad you followed up with “the rest of the story”.

    I think It’s between us and God whether (and how) we reach out to others, but it’s between them and God what they do with our gift/service. All we can do is obey the Lord’s nudging, seek His wisdom, and pray that it’ll be properly received and used. We aren’t responsible for results, only obedience. That’s where the “well done, my good and faithful servant” part comes in.

  3. And what happens when a true act of kindness to a supposedly innocent homeless man like the NYC officer helped turns into a scam because the “homeless” man is not such? He has a gov’t paid condo in his name. I guess Jesus says keep giving without regard for fraud!

    1. Brad, I cannot speak to the specific circumstances of Mr. Hillman. The not so simple answer for me is provide a home and guidance for him; pray he accepts accordingly. Pastor Jay Johnston recently gave me this answer when asked how do we help so many, “One at a time”. I am always amazed at the BIG that Jesus does out of our little, Matthew 14,
      The following may address your statement and offer food for thought. God has never let me down. HE always has an answer for me. When I sincerely search, pray and listen it is heard in God’s perfect time. In an ordination sermon Jesus said the this to His disciples:
      Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
      Select commentary on same page & see Matthew Henry.

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