When To Help Others and When Not To | Danny's Universe

Today, many people say things without thinking them through to their natural conclusion.  
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When was the last time you heard someone say, "If it would only help

one person, it would be worth it." or "Help everyone at all costs!"?

I have to say that when I hear statements like these, I cringe.

Let's take the first one: "If it would help only one person, it would be worth it."

This statement is usually issued having to do with how much pain, discomfort and aggravation people feel in respect to doing something they really don't want to do.

Example 1
In today's culture we have the threat of some very bad people doing some very bad things to folks like you and me.  

Most of us just want to go about our business, and live our lives in peace and safety.

To combat this threat, we (via our government and elected officials) have taken certain measures to aid in preventing problems.

For instance, to me it is acceptable to go through a medal detector to board an airplane.  I also don't mind showing some sort of identification to vote in an election, or have my camera bag perused when I go to an amusement park.

I may not like it, but I accept it. 

When is it too much?
Would it be acceptable to have a 72 year old, female American citizen from Arkansas, strip searched and inappropriately groped?

Some would say, "If it would only help one person, it would be worth it." 

What if this woman was then detained for having a dull, 2'' fingernail file in her cosmetic bag?

What if instead of 72, she was 3 years old?

Some would still say, "If it would help only one person, it would be worth it."

Think Deeper
Following that train of thought, what if 50% of all people who fly commercially had to go through this type of search in effort to keep the skies safe?

Would it still be worth it?

What if everyone had to submit to this kind of search?  Obviously, there is a point where it gets ridiculous.  

My question is, where is that point, and why do we need to get as close as we can to it?

Solution
For me I play the odds.   How many 72 year old, America-born, ladies from Arkansas have caused airplanes to crash? 

Example 2
If I see a pretty girl sitting on the highway with the hood of her car up, I never just blindly pull over and get out of my car.

Before you judge me too harshly, here are a few reasons for this.

  • The chances today of a young woman having a phone with her are pretty good.
  •  I might scare her, more than help her.  
  • She could definitely have someone lurking in the weeds, waiting to knock me in the head and carjack me. 
  • I'm not a mechanic. 

It usually comes down to this.  If someone already has things under control, I try not to step in, unless I can really help. 

If my life, or the life of my friends and family are potentially at risk, I weigh the options even more carefully.

Solution 
What I have done is, pull alongside people, put my window down, and ask if they are ok.

I do this while watching her/him (especially their hands and eyes) and the surrounding area with one foot on the break and one on the gas pedal. 

In light of the meanness (as my grandma would call it) that goes on today, I don't often help people who are sitting on the side of the highway.  

I also don't pick up stranded strangers.

As much as I would like to help, many times the risk is greater than the reward.

To some I may sound like a selfish, calculating jerk.  I can live with that.

My time and my life are more important to me than the opinions of most people.  Hopefully, you can say the same.

Story
When I was in my early 20s, I was driving 75 or 80 mph down a major intestate highway.  I was alone, and enjoying the day.  

The weather was perfect.  I had my radio turned up, thinking about a date I had planned for that night.  Life was good.

Suddenly, my car went dead.

Thankfully, I was going fast enough to easily pull over to the side of the highway with no trouble.  

I tried to re-start it to no avail.  Then I got out, raised my hood and poked around a little bit as cars and semi trucks were flying by me only a few feet away.

I wasn't walking as closely with God as I should have been at the time, but I'm pretty sure I said a prayer.

Anyway, I left my hood up, stood several feet behind my car and looked at the cars going by.  

I made eye contact with many of the drivers.  I was hoping to spot a friend, or that a friend would spot me. 

Within a very few minutes, a nice lady pulled over, and asked me what the trouble was.  I told her.

She offered to give me a ride.  I accepted and later picked up the car, and yada, yada, yada.  Oh yeah, and I took my date with me.  

Lessons
Several things happened that worked in my favor.

  •  I was blessed not to be hurt when the car went dead in the middle of rush hour traffic.

  • My Dad (and experience) had taught me to look people directly in the eye, so I did.
 
  •  When the lady pulled over, she wisely looked me over.  I was clean cut, spoke clearly, dressed well, and smiled.

As harsh as this may sound, I will just say it.  If you don't like it, we can talk about it in the comments section.

I didn't stink.  I wasn't covered in tattoos, with long hair and dirty clothes.  If that had been my look she wouldn't have picked me up.

God may look at our heart, but people from planet Earth judge each other by appearance, at least in the beginning of a relationship. 

It is safe to say though, that there are some people who would rather pick up a dirty, stinky guy covered in tattoos. 

  • I looked her over too.  She looked nice, seemed normal, and the odds were that if push came to shove, I could have taken her! LOL 

(If a car full of guys had pulled over, or an overly gruff looking truck driver, I may have passed.  They may have been totally cool, but the odds would have been different.  Most of the time, I play the odds.)  

The Ride
I asked her where she wanted me to sit.  She invited me to sit in the front passenger seat. 

As we drove nearly 40 minutes together, we had a chance to talk.  I found out that we had some mutual acquaintances, and we made small talk.

I had one real question on my mind.  I said, "The world is getting pretty crazy.  How did you know it was safe to pick me up?"

She replied, "You looked like a nice guy, and I had a good feeling about you."

At the time, her answer sufficed my curiosity.  Over the years though, I have thought about this from time to time.  

I have even wondered if she was an angel or directed by an angel to pick me up.  Weird huh? 

You might ask, would Danny have recommended that she pick up a stranger?

My answer would be, no.  If she was my friend I would have told her not to pick a guy up on the highway.  

Either way, I sure did appreciate that ride!

By the way, I wrote an article that continues this train of thought.  Please visit No Good Deed Goes Unpunished by clicking here

Thank you for reading,
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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