Day 59 How to Lead by THE BOOK: How Far Should I Go to Help My Neighbor?

When Jesus commanded us to love others as He loves us, the mandate for caring for our neighbors, family, co-workers, and employees became clear. But just how far do you go? Is there a danger that you can do too much and make things worse for them…and you? The answer: It depends! It depends upon the situation, and the more you know about the Bible, the easier it is to discern how to help an individual based on their specific and unique need. In, How to Lead by THE BOOK, I’ll present a number of biblical references that address specific situations and remedies. Here are a few general rules to follow:

1. If someone needs food or clothing, don’t loan them the money, give it to them. The Bible lists food and clothing as a basic need. Thus, you don’t just give them the money if they need their cable turned back on, or want to upgrade their cell phone! Proverbs 19:17: He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord. And He will pay back what he has given.

2. Never co-sign a loan. Co-signing makes both parties a slave to the bank. Read Proverbs 6:1-5 and Proverbs 22:7.

3. If someone is having money problems, giving them more money will not solve their long-term issues if they are not applying biblical principles to their finances. The chances are far greater that they need instruction that will help them over the course of a life time, not a short-term infusion of cash that will soon be gone, leaving them in want again. Instead, you should counsel them to apply the wisdom in Malachi 3:10-11 and Proverbs 3:9-10. Normally, those with financial pressures don’t need more money. They need counsel from God’s word.

4. If someone is complaining that nothing is going right in their marriage or family, you could inquire if they honored their parents while growing up of if they got married with their parent’s full blessing. If not, the best advice you could give them is to be reconciled to their parents, because God tells us to “honor our parents that it may be well with thee.” Ephesians 6:3

As you can see, loving your neighbor doesn’t always mean doing what is asked. You must use wisdom to discern the real need. As you counsel another, it’s important that they feel your concern and love for them, and not condemnation or judgment. Otherwise, they will most likely reject your advice. The Apostle Paul instructed Titus to, “speak evil of no man” and instead to show meekness unto all men with humility, remembering that we have also been at times foolish, disobedient, and deceived. Titus 3:2-5.

Helping someone without using the Bible as a guideline can cause many problems:

1. The person becomes entitled.

2. The person begins to depend more upon you than on God.

3. The person never gets a chance to grow spiritually and apply principles that will create long-term benefit in their lives. Thus, they continue to repeat the same errors and get caught up in a vicious cycle that imprisons them and robs them of their joy and future.

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