Making an assessment part 2 by Travis Sharpe

Me and Country

This is the second blog in our series about making an assessment. The assessment is the gathering of information when you first meet someone. It is not a judgment, it is an honest look at their situation.

Today I want to discuss the why of the assessment. I have people tell me sometimes that we should just take everything at face value, that we shouldn’t pry and try to find out personal details about people. They say that in doing so, you become the judge.
I disagree.
I want to lay out three reasons that I believe in going through the process of making an assessment.

1. To blindly give money or other items to someone without understanding the dynamics behind their situation is simply irresponsible.

People will often say that “whatever someone does with what I give them is between them and God.” And I agree with that statement. But I also believe that what I do with the resources I have is between me and God. If that is true, and it is, how can I give money to someone with no questions asked if I know in my heart that there is a real probability that they will hurt themselves with it?

Taking the time to make an assessment simply means that you love the person enough to help in the appropriate manner and be a wise steward of the resources God has entrusted you with.

I know what you are thinking. “That five dollars I gave that guy ain’t gonna hurt him, it’s not gonna make much of a difference.” Well, yours alone might not but what about when thirty other people do the same thing? Catch my drift?

The average panhandler is counting on people like you. They know that they can make a tax-free days wage and live irresponsibly because people will be guided by guilt instead of by common sense. We need to take the time to do a little homework and see what the person is all about.

2. You could actually hinder what God is trying to do in someone’s life.

If you are reading this, I know you have a huge heart to help people. I mean, who else reads this kinda stuff?

The ironic thing is that sometimes in our haste to help someone draw close to God, we could actually interrupt God’s plans for them. Have you ever thought about the prodigal son in the Bible. The Bible tells us something very interesting about when he was in the hog lot and about to eat the slop along with the hogs.

It says that “no man gave unto him.” (Luke 15:16) If the average compassionate person had seen this young man in that awful shape, they would have more than likely fed hi a good hot meal. I know I would. But God was doing something through hunger.

You see, an assessment of his situation shows us that poverty was not his issue, rebellion was. And hunger was the tool God used to bring about conviction. Do you see how our charity might have hindered what God was doing in his life?

3. You could further a flawed view of personal responsibility.

This is an unfortunate truth. But it is true none the less. Our society and our government in particular has done an outstanding job of rewarding people for ill behavior. Programs that are meant to help the truly poor have been abused to the extent that we now have a who generation of people who feel entitled to a free ride in life.

When we treat well people like they are sick, we run the risk of helping to convince them that they really are sick when in fact they are well.

In other words, when we give and give and give without knowing why the person is in need, we help to further their sense that the world owes them something for nothing. And that is simply not true.

I want to be very clear that not everyone who panhandles is a shyster. Not everyone who asks for money will misuse it. But to deny that many do is foolish. To give blindly is a fast way out. I suggest that we take the time to know them, love them, and help them in a responsible manner.

Note: this was taken from my Good Samaritan course. For more information about the course, click here.