I recently posted some questions that seemed to hit a sensitive spot for lots of people.
While I wanted to generate some discussion around this question, I never expected it to spark as much interest as it did. But that was awesome, and I really learned a lot from the conversation that this has generated for me both online and offline.
So here’s what I learned:
I think that everyone agrees that when in a situation where somebody needs help, the appropriate Christian response is to help them. Where people tend to differ is in how they help.
Through this conversation I’ve become much more aware of other ways that I could have helped this young lady without having her jump into my car with me (creating a potential accountability situation). Some of the possibilities include:
- Call (and pay for) a cab
- Call someone to or ride with us
- Call someone (female) to come pick her up
- Call my wife to let her know what I was doing
All of these scenarios only require one thing… making a simple phone call.
But I’ve also learned that my knee-jerk response closed the door to any of these possibilities happening at all. This is why it is important to be willing to talk before responding.
If I had taken the opportunity to ask her about what was going on and where she wanted to go, I would have been able to gather some important information on how I might be able to best help her out.
Engaging her in conversation may have given me the opportunity to even make suggestions. If she told me that her husband (or boyfriend) was beating her, then I may have been able to direct her to a safe house or shelter for battered women. Regardless of what her need was, I only would be able to discover it by actually talking to her.
Even if I did talk to her and found some ways to help her, I’ve since realized that I wasn’t prepared to really help her out anyway. So I’ve decided that I need to have some phone numbers programmed into my phone. Some of the places that I would need to be able to call might include:
- A reliable cab company (or two)
- Homeless shelters
- Food banks/kitchens
- Safe houses/shelters for battered women
- 24-hour medical centers/clinics
If she needed to get to a safe place to sleep for the night, having these phone numbers at my fingertips would have allowed me to call ahead to ensure that we wouldn’t end up running all over town to find what we need.
I would challenge you to also be ready in the same way.
So what numbers did I miss? What other resources do you think we should always have at the ready so that we can respond (appropriately) with compassion when the time comes?