"Hand Up" or "Hand Out"

Oct 08, 2012

Once I had a conversation with a person who was in the throes of a financial crisis. It seemed that there was too much month left at the end of their money. As I inquired about the source of income, this person indicated they were receiving a monthly check from the government. I was shocked to learn that the check totaled less than that person could have earned making minimum wage. When I made the person aware of that fact, the response was, "I will lose that check!" My response..."But you could work and earn twice that amount and eliminate your financial stress." It was at that time that I realized that what had started out to be a "good thing" eventually became a "bad thing". What was designed to be a "temporary hand up" became a "perpetual hand out". I believe the government has a role in helping those less fortunate in our society; it should be a minimal role that provides a "hand up" and not a "hand out". I believe this role in which the government now functions became necessary when "The Church", the local community of believers loss sight of the fact that we are "to let our light shine...so God is glorified." There was a time when the church functioned as the social relief program in our communities. Neighbors helped neighbors and everyone pitched in to help those in the community who were "caught in a tight spot". The beauty of this "I'm my brother's keeper's concept" was that those who needed assistance were also held accountable for the resource given them. If the resource wasn't used for proper means, the resource was directed to someone else who would appreciate it and use the funds for the intended purpose. Many times when a person wants to elevate their station in life, they require assistance, especially if they have not been afforded opportunities like those available to people who have financial resource networks (friends, lineage, business connections, education). However, when the "hand up" evetually becomes a "hand out", that person then becomes enslaved; they become dependent and not interdependent. There are many people like the person referenced at the beginning of this blog who needed help for whatever reason but that help, without initiative on their part and lack of accountability from the government agency has now enslaved them. This form of slavery has not only created a worse condition for the receipient but has potentially stifled the productivity of future generations. Helping the poor or those who find themselves in need of financial assistance is a very good thing as long as it doesn't produce perpetual dependents and eliminates the acceptance of personal responsibility for their own destiny. Perhaps you have a story of someone who needed a hand up and maximized the resource given them; please share your experience.


Category: faith-hope

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