To what extent would you go to lend a hand? I have always thought of myself as a generous person and I assume most people close to me would describe me as being generous. What does generosity mean? According to the circle of courage (tool used to determine the functioning of children in relation to their environments); a generous person embodies the following characteristics: caring, loyal, sharing, sociable and empathetic. I would also add supportive to this definition. The opposite of a generous person would be someone who is selfish, affectionless, narcissistic, antisocial and disloyal.
Having said this I have come to realize that people’s perceptions of other people’s generosity differ. When someone wants something from me then they perceive me to be the most generous person ever, until I am unable to provide the something that they need. As long as you are giving you are seen to be generous. The moment you cannot provide then you are seen as the most selfish person on the planet.
Let me tell you about me: I am a firm believer in the Bible notion that whatever a man sows that he shall also reap (Gal 6 vs 7). I do not believe in allowing people to reap benefits where they have not sown a seed. That does not make me cruel neither am I saying that only a good turn deserves another. All I am saying is that generosity sometimes has or should have a limit. A distorted sense of generosity makes someone become over- involved or play martyr. There is a form of bondage or servitude that can come from always assuming that others need to come first before you…this is when generosity becomes unhealthy.
Lets take for example relatives who only talk to you at the end of the month…first hello, how are you of the month which is quickly followed by “can you send me some money?” In what world is this supposed to be acceptable?
Now when it comes to giving to those whose circumstances speak for themselves…those who do not seek to exploit one’s generosity I say lend a hand and do not stop as long as you are able. Without opportunities to give to others human beings cannot develop into caring individuals. Give of your time, love and knowledge; it does not always have to be material things. Give to children, widows, the elderly and to any cause your heart calls you to. In that giving there is a joy that comes from knowing there is no reward expected. It can actually be to the benefit of our spiritual and social well-being.
Hope this helps you as it did me to put some thought into my giving.