Punishing ourselves?


Last night I had another encounter with a homeless guy that kind of goes along with what we talked about in the other thread I posted recently. I know him fairly well as he hangs around the same neighborhood a lot.

Last night when I was walking by he was sitting there with a woman I also know, and he asked me: "Kathrin! Do you have any food?"
I told him, truthfully, that i was just on my way to the bakery where they throw out day-old bread, to pick up some loaves.
He said (he was quite high and drunk, I must add): “Bread isn’t food!” with which of course I didn’t agree.
He also reminded me he was a diabetic and shouldn’t eat bread, which on the other hand I could understand.
The other woman and a thord one who walked by on the other hand took my offer that i would get them some peanut butter from my room and they would make sandwiches with the free bread.
The other guy unfortunately is also allergic to peanuts. He (probably partly induced by the pot) started fantasizing about all the food he loves, and I tried to make it clear to him that I didn’t feel I had to buy him something expensive. I suggested we go to Walgreen’s and I get him something. I thought a snack, some chips maybe… he said a sandwich.
I said a prepared sandaich again was rather expensive
(and this is what I feel most guilty about, I should have just gotten one for him :frowning: ) and we kind of talked back and forth, I asked him to suggest something he could eat that wasn’t too expensive, but he was not making sense anymore (smoked more pot).

I came back with the peanut butter for the women, the one woman said I was an angel but I just felt guilty about the other guy because he was gone.

Ok, long introduction. Ok, so I felt guilty. So I made myself go look for him late at night, even though I wasn’t feeling well (been fighting some kind of virus).
I also ate less myself before I went to bed (I like to snack on food and bread and peanut butter) :wink: because of it.

This morning I found him and we kind of BOTH apologized. I went to a Chinese place with him and bought him food for 3 dollars.
I asked him if he whad really been hungry the night before and he said he hadn’t been that hungry.
But when I asked him later if he had to go to bed hungry he said YES. But also that it was good??? And that it wasn’t my fault.

I still kind of feel it is.
And even though I already kind of punished myself last night, this morning I felt maybe I should refrain from doing something I enjoy today.
And not read in the book that I am reading and continue with the studies I enjoy doing.

But should I listen to that “voice”? Or have I punished myself enough? Now I feel guilty if I read in the book I like to read in. Do we listen to voices like that? Or are they voices of doubt? Should we punish ourselves?

And how wrongly did I behave? Have I failed to “feed the hungry”? Or am I too hard on myself???



Too hard on yourself! Give yourself a break. Do what you can and realize that you are not superwoman. Accept the fact that you will not be able to find the perfect solution, just a good one.


I believe you did nothing wrong. In fact you did good, by helping the woman, and attempting to help the man. It sounds to me that he was simply too high to communicate properly, and that is not your fault. The extra effort you put in to find him because of your guilt is rather impressive; most people would just say “oh well”. You did what you could, and nothing less.

As for punishing yourself, I think it’s a bad thing. There is nothing to be gained by self-punishment, especially with trivial things like reading a good book. It’s natural to feel disappointed in oneself, but God told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Not to love ourselves less than our neighbors. Self-punishment seems slightly unhealthy, and honestly, Satan thrives on our feelings of unworthiness and despair.

If you haven’t already, I suggest you read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It really gives perspective to how the Devil wants us to feel things like this, because while guilt would seem like a good thing on the surface, if taken too far it can lead us on the wrong path. (Such as self-destructive thoughts and behavior.) In conclusion, I think you did fine, and instead of focusing on shortcomings, allow them to strengthen your resolve in doing more good works.



Do you wonder how he had money for booze and drugs and not food? Why feel guilty? He should get clean and feed himself. Do NOT feel guilty, You did what you could. As a matter of fact I think you went way out of your way to help this man. God helps those that help themselves. He should help himself.



I told myself I’d listen to the people here and if they say I am too hard on myself again, and that punishing yourself like that isn’t good, then I would take their advice.
I thank you very much for reading my rather long post.
And also for the book suggestion! That sounds like a very interesting book for me!!! A part if me DID think, actually, that it might do more harm than good to punish myself (and then, not knowing when is enough!), but I was kind of afraid that might just be me coming up with an excuse so I didn’t have to. So hearing somebody else say that too really helped.
Thank you!!!


I think the last beer that night somebody had given to him.
Otherwise, I am not sure.
He does spend money on food when he has it. He says himself that he is somebody who likes to eat good.
I think he struggles with depression a lot.


It was a good question, and I was glad to answer it. Good luck with future almsgiving. :slight_smile:



Christ told St. Faustina in a private revelation he was more interested in the effort of a sincere heart than the results of our efforts. Mother Theresa was quoted saying that we are not called to be successful but rather to be holy.

You did the best you could with a sincere heart.


Thank you.


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