Clothe the Naked -Part II

 

clothes lineWe had such a great response to the post For I Was Naked and You Clothed Me from a few weeks ago.  It raised some important questions, so we decided to continue with a second reflection this week. Thanks as always to my dear friend Becky Eldredge for sharing space on her blog!

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Welcomed or unexpected, mercy invites us into relationship with one another. Even the best of relationships are complex, filled with ups and downs, and take a lot of effort. When we enter into relationship with those in need of mercy, we can almost guarantee that it will be difficult before it ever reaches the point of being sacred or profound.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about clothing the naked, and it raised all sorts of questions! When we encounter someone who is hungry, thirsty, or homeless, there is a temptation to react impulsively. We feel compelled to do something! But if mercy is about being drawn into relationship, is it enough for me to anonymously donate my used stuff to a shelter or second-hand store? Who am I helping, and does my assistance lead to a sustainable solution?

Around the same time as that blog post, a friend forwarded an article about the unforeseen consequences of people’s generosity that takes place in the wake a national tragedy. The town of Newtown, CT (population 27,000) received over 65,000 teddy bears following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school – do the math, that’s three stuffed animals for each resident. It then became someone’s full time job to sort, distribute, and decide what to do with all of the donations.

I certainly do not want to derail people’s generosity and genuine desire to help. But our efforts toward mercy also raise some important questions:

  • How much thought do we put into the items we donate to charity?
  • Am I considering the best interests of the receiver?
  • How would a church or a lay person know what a person or organization actually needs?
  • Is my desire to be generous inadvertently creating an additional burden?

Continue Reading….here 

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