So I noticed her on my way into the 7-11 store. I was on my way to teaching my Homiletics class and I stopped to get a bottle of water. The 21-day Daniel fast that I’m on kept me from stopping at Starbucks for my venti non-fat chai latte, but I needed something with me to drink in class.

christian ethicsShe was clearly upset as she cried on the phone with someone. She was wearing a short skirt, and that just revealed the bruises all up and down her legs. I’m not sure what they were from, but the first thing that I could think of was that she was in an abusive relationship. While I got my bottle of water she had stepped outside.

She stopped me on my way out the door. With tears rolling down her cheeks she looked at me with desperation and asked if I could help her out by giving her a ride somewhere.

Being a married man who is very active in ministry in my local church, I suddenly found myself in a dilemma.

On one hand my Christian belief is to help those who are needy and in times of trouble. That side of me wanted to help her into my car and take her to wherever she could get the help that she needed. After all, I know of several places that could help her regardless of the situation that she was in.

The other side of me kicked back and said, “DON’T DO IT!” The last thing that I needed was to put myself in a situation where I was alone with another woman in my car. A false accusation from her, or even someone I know driving by and seeing this woman with me could bring a world of problems for a faithful husband and servant of the church.

So I told her that I was really sorry, but I could not help her.

This raises the question that I’d like to discuss here. Which of these options should a faithful Christian be more concerned about?

Is it better to not care what others might think, and to just do the right thing to help out another human being in need?

Or is it more important to maintain a level of trust with people like my wife and those that I minister to?

Or is there another way to handle a situation like this?

What do you think?

Editors note: See the follow-up response to this discussion at be ready [compassion and christian ethics].

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Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. school of ministry and missions instructor. president of fistbump media, llc.

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