No Good Deed Goes Unpunished | Danny's Universe

I believe in doing good deeds that benefit other people.  
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It gives me a warm feeling in my heart to know that I've helped someone, especially if they didn't expect it

or know I was going to do it.

The old adage of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you is still the best rule to live by.

However, as with most things in life, there is more than one way of looking at this topic.

Today in Danny's Universe, I hope to give you a few things to ponder.  

I'm not necessarily trying to change your mind about helping others.  I want you to continue doing it.  I just want you to think a little deeper. 

I grew up enjoying science fiction.  I liked Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica (the original series), Lost in Space, Buck Rogers, and many other books, TV series and movies.

Note: If you're not a sci-fi fan, please don't leave.  I am making a point that is much deeper than whether someone likes or dislikes Mr. Spock's pointed ears. 

In many of my favorite TV shows, there would be an occasional episode about time travel.  This always fascinated me. 

There were a few movies and books that did an even better job at exploring the topic.  I enjoyed both the 1895 book and the 1960 film version of H.G Wells The Time Machine.

However, my all-time favorite time travel story was, and still is, Back to the Future.

The adventures of Marty Mcfly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) set to a classic 80's soundtrack led by Huey Lewis was awesome in my mind!

I am going to assume that if you haven't seen the trilogy of films, you are at least familiar with the storyline.   If not, I hope you check it out. 

One concept that everyone who enjoys this portion of the sci-fi genre knows, is that when someone goes back in time they must be very careful not to tamper with things.

The Ripple Effect
Even the smallest change in the original timeline could have a ripple effect that would lead to major changes in the future.  

Whether you believe in time travel or not, the concept of a ripple effect is quite easy to understand and prove.

For instance, look at your own life.  Have you ever had a person say something to you a single time that changed your life?

This person could have been a parent, or teacher mentioning that you were either good or bad at something.  

It could have been a little kid noticing that you said a word in a funny way, or your hair was different than the other kids.

Maybe someone telling you about Jesus Christ?  It could have been anything. 

I believe we all have had that experience.  If you think you have been immune to this type of influence, think harder. 

How does the ripple effect relate to Good Deeds Going Unpunished?
Sometimes when we want to help someone, we act on impulse.  We have totally good intentions.  

We want to commit an unselfish act, and have purely altruistic motives.  However, the other person may not be coming from the same place we are. 

Example A.
I have a friend who is a carpet cleaner.  He's a good guy who works hard and likes to help people.

He and his workers use steam cleaning equipment to clean homes, apartments and offices etc.  

How it works
They pull their van up to the job, run water and vacuum hoses from their van-mounted machine up the drive, into the home, through doorways and around furniture.  

Next they go back to their van, get the cleaning wand, any other attachments and chemicals they need - all before they can begin working. 

As you can see, it's a lot of work just getting everything ready. 

The reason this is important is because once everything is set up, it really doesn't cost much to do an extra room or pathway.

Sometimes, people will hire them to clean one room, but not another.  For instance they may clean a master bedroom, but not the adjoining bath.

To be nice, my buddy has cleaned the adjoining bathroom free of charge.  He does the same thing with stairs etc. if he has time.

Where the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished thing comes into play is that some people will actually call and complain about something having to do with the extra area that was cleaned at no charge.

The good-hearted carpet cleaner didn't have to clean the additional space in the first place.  It's always waaay better than it was before he began.

They could truthfully tell a friend, "I had ABC company come to my house.   They did my bathroom, but didn't do a very good job.  I called them about it, but they never came back."

Although partially true, this is not the entire story.  

Over time, the good deed may cost the carpet cleaner lots of business. 

Example B.
Most of us have seen or heard about well-meaning guys who step into break up arguments between men and women. 

The husband or boyfriend is cussing his woman out, maybe even smacks her around a little bit.  A good guy steps in, possibly a police officer, and the next thing you know, the abused woman turns against her would be Sir Galahad.  

She then sides with her so called abuser, against the very person trying to help her.

It is a fact that many women have posted bail and dropped charges against the guy who abuses them.  

In some cases, the lowlife guy has even put the girl in the hospital, but they had to follow their heart (LOL) and give him another chance.

If you see someone being hurt to an extreme extent, call the police.  Of course there are exceptions to this, use good judgment and consider if a single slap or shove is worth the potential trouble.    

Example C.
I know an auto body repair man who, as in the carpet cleaning example above, has done extra work at no charge.

He's told me about folks who have complained about something even though it looks much better than it did before he helped them. 

There are countless examples of No Good Deed Going Unpunished.

The Takeaway
I am not saying you shouldn't help people.  I'm just asking you to use common sense, and think before you act.

Don't blindly follow clichés.  

Remember, some people truly do not want out of bad situations.  

They say they do.  They complain, and whine and cry.  They have every excuse in the world for remaining in the life they are in, but they never make a serious attempt to get out.

The conundrum is, when do we help, and when do we not help?   

A simple minded person will say something like, "Of course you help anyone, every time you can."

Things are much deeper than that though.  In fact, this is an an entirely different topic with it's own set of considerations.   

To read my article, When to Help Others and When Not To, please click here.

Until then,
Love one another

Disclaimer: I believe the philosophy I put forth here.  I believe my points are valid.  However, all situations are not equal.  If you are in dire need please speak to a respected faith leader or professional counselor in your area.  The thoughts and opinions here are my own and should not take the place of professional advice.

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