Why be charitable?


#1

Here’s something I don’t understand. Why should so much focus be placed on being charitable to someone who has hurt or wronged us. Depending on what they’ve done, I often don’t feel like many deserve it. I feel they’ve chosen, of their own free will, to not receive it. Like murderers and molesters for example.

I have no problem with being charitable to those who receive it and return it. Some people can change. Some people can see the error of their ways. But for those who choose not to, why show any charity to them?

There is a time for being charitable and a time for being strong. They don’t always mix.


#2

It is much easier to love thy neighbor than thy enemy! But all are God’s children.

You must pray for these who have wronged you for they are being plagued by demons who are tempting them to go against God’s will and follow their own selfish desires. Pray that they see the error and follow the path of God. Pray that they hear his lead.

Now to seek or desire a revenge is the mortal sin of anger! You are on thin ice if you think they deserve it. Remember God is testing your own desires too. He says you should love your enemies and neighbors above yourself. This was not suppose to be easy, but a true testiment of love when you can lay down your sword for your neighbor.

Are you expecting somethingin return for your gift? Then you must question your motives, for a gift is given freely with no strings. Yes we would all like to “keep the chain of love” going, but if you are demanding it in anyway, then you are missing the point.

Please understand I am not trying to attack you but point out what you have said and what you must be aware of.
Pray and Pray often!


#3

[quote=pira114]Here’s something I don’t understand. Why should so much focus be placed on being charitable to someone who has hurt or wronged us. Depending on what they’ve done, I often don’t feel like many deserve it. I feel they’ve chosen, of their own free will, to not receive it. Like murderers and molesters for example.

I have no problem with being charitable to those who receive it and return it. Some people can change. Some people can see the error of their ways. But for those who choose not to, why show any charity to them?

There is a time for being charitable and a time for being strong. They don’t always mix.
[/quote]

I know exactly where you are coming from. It is at these times, the best I feel I can do is pray. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t
~ Kathy ~


#4

I’m not saying we shouldn’t pray for them. I agree with most of what has been said so far.

I don’t expect anything in return except openess to my charity. If they choose of their own free will to refuse it, then it would be wise not to leave myself vulnerable. I see nothing in Jesus’ teachings that say I should be so charitable that I become a victim. That’s what I’m talking about. Maybe the posts I read here are just trying to sound super charitable, but a lot of them sound like they would just lead a person to further victimization. I’ve been a lot of things in my life, never a victim.

And no, I didn’t feel like I was being attacked, I appreciate the responses.


#5

[quote=pira114]Here’s something I don’t understand. Why should so much focus be placed on being charitable to someone who has hurt or wronged us. Depending on what they’ve done, I often don’t feel like many deserve it. I feel they’ve chosen, of their own free will, to not receive it. Like murderers and molesters for example.

I have no problem with being charitable to those who receive it and return it. Some people can change. Some people can see the error of their ways. But for those who choose not to, why show any charity to them?

There is a time for being charitable and a time for being strong. They don’t always mix.
[/quote]

(Please don’t take any of the following as a sign of hostility.)

  1. You don’t get to decide who deserves your charity. God is charitable to us, and we certainly don’t deserve it. He has commanded us to love even our enemies, and we must do that.

  2. You may have a faulty understanding of what charity (or love) is. It is not being soft. It is not being a doormat. It is not letting people get away with bad behavior. Rather, it is wanting what is ultimately best for other people and working for that good. For a more thorough explanation, see the following Catholic Encyclopedia entry: newadvent.org/cathen/03592a.htm


#6

[quote=pira114]I’m not saying we shouldn’t pray for them. I agree with most of what has been said so far.

I don’t expect anything in return except openess to my charity. If they choose of their own free will to refuse it, then it would be wise not to leave myself vulnerable. I see nothing in Jesus’ teachings that say I should be so charitable that I become a victim. That’s what I’m talking about. Maybe the posts I read here are just trying to sound super charitable, but a lot of them sound like they would just lead a person to further victimization. I’ve been a lot of things in my life, never a victim.

And no, I didn’t feel like I was being attacked, I appreciate the responses.
[/quote]

You are right in thinking that charity does not always mean leaving yourself emotionally or physically vulnerable to harm, especially if it is not likely to benefit anyone at all. Self-sacrifice is a virtue, but there should be a benefit to your sacrifice. However, be open to what God is leading you to do in any situation, and don’t rely only on your own wisdom and self-preservation instinct. After all, Jesus’ sacrifice looks foolish to an outsider, but it accomplished the greatest good in history.


#7

[quote=pira114]I see nothing in Jesus’ teachings that say I should be so charitable that I become a victim.
[/quote]

I’d hate to be the one to bring up a painful point, but don’t we daily refuse Christ’s charity? Doesn’t He offer us eternal life and happiness and out of our pride and conceit we refuse His gifts?

Christ was the ultimate victim. He died for our sins… all of them… not just the annoyance of the odd person who doesn’t accept a helping hand. How can we say He doesn’t teach us to give until it hurts?

There’s being a victim and then there’s having one’s pride hurt. If we have our hands chopped off for giving a loaf of bread to a homeless person, then we are victims. If the homeless person refuses the bread and hurts our feelings, we’re not.

Even if the charity you speak of is the love of the virtue, we are no victims. Charity is supposed to be given freely. It doesn’t matter if it is not reciprocated, or if the person passes it on to others. What is important for us, is our giving. That’s what God is looking for.

"You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy.
But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute you:
That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.
For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans do this?
And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens do this?
Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt. 5:43-48)

Its something to think about. I know its incredibly difficult for me also. My pride is great. I try to keep in mind that Christ gave so much to us, a people who refuse His grace daily, that I have no right to hold back from giving charity to those who would refuse it.

I hope this helps.

God bless,

Agricola


#8

When we are hurt or offended by someone, there is no fault in being hurt. I can think of many times when my sister hurt me and I was not able to forgive her right away. Charity and love are synonomus. Love is wishing the good of another as well as their eternal salvation. Love and charity are not feelings. It is willing thier eternal salvation. I think of Saddam Hussien, and to me he is the person I would hate the most if I were allowed to. If I saw him in person, would I hug him and warmly greet him? Never!!! But rest assured that I do pray for him. That is charity in my opinion.

God Bless


#9

These are all great examples and definitions. I guess my concern is that it appears to me that a lot of Christians (in general, not just Catholics) don’t seem to know the difference between being charitable and letting the attacker win. Whether you’re talking physical or verbal. Especially when it comes to all this politically correct junk about saying Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas.

Maybe I have a much different perspective because I live in the Bay Area of the Republik of Kalifornia.

Side story: I was in Starbucks today and the girl at the counter said Happy Holiday. I said Merry Christmas back to her. She smiled hugely and said “that’s right, Merry Christmas” at the top of her lungs! Everyone started laughing and clapping. It was funny. Then she said if she got fired it was my fault! It was pretty funny, but it’s sad that the thought of getting fired over saying that even comes to mind.


#10

Dear Pira - you bring up a very interesting idea about being charitable and the possibility of it leading to being taken advantage of. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I have a very strained relationship w/ my mother. She can be very manipulative - and cause real pain. I have to keep forgiving her (“as we forgive those who tresspass against us”) - but that forgiveness and charity has to go hand-in-hand w/* very firm boundaries*. I try my best to treat her w/ dignity and respect, but when she becomes verbally abusive, I have to say, “We’ll have to try this again when we can communicate calmly” - the hard part is following through and removing yourself from an abusive episode - and then trying again a different time.

Sadly, some family members know very well what buttons to push - and some people seem enjoy having the power to agitate someone close to them - but when we sense that communication is becoming unhealthy, sometimes we have to distance ourselves - while still praying for them and loving them. Jesus taught us to love and pray for our enemies. . . sometimes it’s almost easier to do that w/ an awful enemy (Sadaam Husein) than a family member - beacuse the family member has caused great pain on a very intimate, foundational level.

We are called to “turn the other cheek” - partly for *our own healing. *If we can forgive someone who has wounded us (as Christ forgave his executioners from the cross), then the the pain we are suffering allows us to be more intimately united w/ our Lord, Jesus Christ (who suffered more than our human minds can fathom).

Peace be with you - please let me know what you think of this. Love, Kate P.S. Do you live in Ireland, or just love the language?


#11

I have mixed feelings on being charitable, especially to those that hurt or abuse you. Yes, Jesus speaks on turning the other cheek, handing over your robe and your coat, etc. I agree with that… to an extent. But I also don’t want to cast my pearls before swine, where they will be trampled upon.


#12

[quote=pira114]Here’s something I don’t understand. Why should so much focus be placed on being charitable to someone who has hurt or wronged us. Depending on what they’ve done, I often don’t feel like many deserve it. I feel they’ve chosen, of their own free will, to not receive it. Like murderers and molesters for example.

I have no problem with being charitable to those who receive it and return it. Some people can change. Some people can see the error of their ways. But for those who choose not to, why show any charity to them?

There is a time for being charitable and a time for being strong. They don’t always mix.
[/quote]

It is Christlike to show charity to a stubborn person because by so doing you can help “crack” the wall they have put around themselves. Prayer can enable you to do that. You don’t have to feel the emotion of love when you speak to them charitably, just do it for the glory of God, and for what He wants to accomplish in them.

And, I’m not saying you must be a doormat to someone’s abuse, but to learn the art of a calm reply, with the help of the Holy Spirit.


#13

I was praying The Lord’s Prayer once when it suddenly struck me that I was asking God to forgive me the way I forgave others.

From that time on I have worked really, really hard to forgive everybody who offends or upsets me…for everything.

One Saturday our car was stolen. Sunday morning during Mass I was saying over and over, like a litany, “I forgive them, I forgive them.”

When I was talking about this to my sister I said, if I can’t forgive someone straight away I at least ask God to help me forgive them.


#14

Here’s one that really gets me:

God would prefer that all mankind attained eternal salvation. Heaven is often described as being the unification of all souls in very much the same way a husband and wife unite in marriage and the marital embrace.
Therefore, in anticipation of that heavenly embrace, we should treat all mankind with the same respect and charity we owe (and hopefully display!) to our spouse.


#15

[quote=Eileen T]I was praying The Lord’s Prayer once when it suddenly struck me that I was asking God to forgive me the way I forgave others.

From that time on I have worked really, really hard to forgive everybody who offends or upsets me…for everything.

One Saturday our car was stolen. Sunday morning during Mass I was saying over and over, like a litany, “I forgive them, I forgive them.”

When I was talking about this to my sister I said, if I can’t forgive someone straight away I at least ask God to help me forgive them.
[/quote]

How wonderful it would be if everyone who prayed the Our Father pondered what they were saying and acted upon it as you did.
The power of God’.s Love would then flow through us out to others and then back to us again.


#16

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