Doing Good Can Go Bad

Cylonphoto / Shutterstock.com
Cylonphoto / Shutterstock.com

It is a Christian duty to do good. It should also be an aspect of love.  Even so, there are times when doing good is not of God, but is of men.  Two examples come to mind to illustrate the point; there are many more:

A local church set up a committee. One of its members had a heart-felt desire to help the homeless. That man is godly and sincere and this writer has every respect for him.  For many years he conducted a mission amongst the homeless and down-and-outs of the city.  To be frank, this writer honestly could not subscribe to the work.  Why?  Because I felt it was being badly abused by those who were being helped.  They would come into the church and ask for Bibles, causing rejoicing amongst the rather naïve but sincere helpers.  All the ‘down and outs’ wanted was good paper to make cigarettes with.  The pages of Bibles were torn apart and the covers dumped!  Those ‘helped’ took what they could and listened to the Gospel only as a way to get something for nothing… food, money, clothing… anything.

It was inevitable the same behavior would arise if a home was offered to them for nothing. And the prediction was, sad to say, correct.  Now, the committee is thinking of closing the home, after the inhabitants have badly abused the place.  I expected it to happen, because such a result is obvious: I just observed and knew what real life was about.  The venture was outside of God’s will.

No man – especially one who is familiar with abusing privileges and his own life – is suddenly going to become an ‘easy target’ for ‘helpers’, even if they are sincere Christians. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is just another way to be easily identified as a gullible do-gooder, even if you don’t want the title!

It is not the job of a Christian to supply the needs of all and sundry. Being homeless is not reason enough to be assisted by Christian helps.  Feeling sorry for the ungodly is no reason at all to help them.  Many are homeless because they want to be, or because of their behavior: especially that of drunkenness (we must not dignify it with the word ‘alcoholism’. It is not an illness, but a sin!), drug-taking, straightforward criminality and bad behavior.

Making their lives easier whilst still allowing them to carry on as before, is folly. It is also misuse of Christian hospitality and resources, and a distortion of Christian ministrations. Ministries are, primarily, if not wholly, meant to be for fellow Believers. Why insist on helping unsaved sinners to continue in their sin, when so many Christians need our help, even in this day?  The answer is more to do with our emotional reaction, or poor understanding, to what we see around us, than with God’s will.  Christians have no standing mandate to provide care for unbelievers, except in rare circumstances and only when directed by the Holy Spirit.

It could be said by that committee that God led them to open the Home.  This begs the question: if God directed them to open it, then why are they now closing it?  Obviously, the direction they thought was of God, was not!  Instead, it was exactly what it always was – a sincere but human response.  Not God but Man!  Whenever we place ideas of men before God’s holy plan, we are, maybe unwittingly, proving the weakness of our theological and Biblical understanding.

Another example of this kind of humanistic weakness is the provision of AIDS hospices. As far as can be ascertained, all of the existing hospices run by Christians offer indiscriminate care.  That is, to homosexuals in the main (because they are the major culprits), and, worse, to homosexuals who have not repented.  This is a glaring error on the part of Believers. God condemns them, so defiant Christians take them in!

Again, we do not have the mandate, or the freedom, to offer unlimited or indiscriminate help to the world at large. Indeed, by doing so, we cannot offer help where it is really needed and where God would want it – amongst other believers.  It may not be so romantic or so ‘challenging’, but it is more scriptural!  This is particularly the case with AIDS.  Remember that AIDS is ravaging the world today because of homosexuals.  They spread the vile disease amongst themselves with happy abandonment, and then amongst the rest of us, via prostitutes, so-called ‘bi-sexuals’, and drug addicts who also have sexual contact with these groups of people.

In other words, AIDS is the result of sexual and other sins. It is not like measles!  It is true that AIDS can be found amongst certain unfortunate folk, whose contact was legitimate, via contaminated blood transfusions, or by being infected by an adulterous or perverted partner.  Never let us lose sight of the plain and terrible facts: the cause was perverted sexual sin, homosexuality in particular, and God says homosexuals are condemned.

Therefore, what is the current fascination amongst Christians to provide care for homosexuals with AIDS? (Let the dead bury the dead). Once again, gullibility and emotionalism are at the root of such help, not a God-given leading.  How does this writer know?  By reading the Bible! By coming to grips with sound theology!  By observing! By knowing the truth! It is even said that AIDS help must be offered without judgement.  Folly added to folly! God judges homosexuality to be a perversion worthy of eternal damnation.  Yet we mortals have decided to overthrow Holy judgement with our own meagre ideas.  Only those who repent of their vile sin may be helped in any real and holy sense.  All else is based on fantasy and modern social-gospelism.  What we call ‘help’ is, then, an hindrance and a misuse of time, resources and Christian zeal.

No doubt the reason behind many helps to the ungodly is the desire to somehow preach the Gospel to them, not by actual preaching, but by activities – especially those which no-one else will execute. This is supposed to show Christian concern which, in theory, might somehow cause the recipient to consider Christ. This is an Arminian response.   The majority of missionaries do exactly the same thing: they disguise the desire to preach with something else, usually things like medical or agricultural work.  But, how is this different from lying or being deceptive?  There is no substitute for preaching, which is simply the forthtelling of the good news.  We are not expected, or called, to disguise our motives or our means.  We are not expected to ‘draw them in’ by subtle good works.  We are called to tell it as it is! Read what Paul did, for example.

Disclaimer:

It is a sad fact that this writer must now give a disclaimer: over the years, time and again, folk have allowed their zeal to overcome what has actually been written. Hence they cannot see the wood for the trees and they accuse the writer of saying things he did not actually say. The disclaimer is this:

Firstly, what has been said above does not preclude individual Christians from helping individual unbelievers – IF the Lord tells them to do so.

Secondly, what has been said is perfectly scriptural and is not a sign of lack of love. If a ‘friend’ watches you walk into danger, but refuses to warn you of that danger (a warning may even take the form of physically hitting you aside) because he does not wish to alarm you, then he is not a true friend.  If a ‘friend’ knows you are in spiritual danger, but he says nothing for fear of making you feel uncomfortable, then he is not a friend.  He may as well be your enemy, for an enemy loves to see you fall and get hurt.  No, a friend is truthful and honest.  By all means be gentle when gentleness is required – but never fail to be truthful.

Lastly, it is not God’s way for us to give all our time, money and effort to unbelievers, when there are suffering Believers right under our noses! We must look after our own house first. What we do is only ‘good’ if it has been given to us by God to do.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

Barry Napier

Founder, Bible Theology Ministries, and christiandoctrine website. BEd., BA, MA, PhD, plus professional diplomas and certificates. Work experience in hospital, counselling, colleges, research. Writer for forty years, Pastor. Any queries/comments, write to [email protected]

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