Guilted Contributions

I saw a sign that I was offended by the other day.  I’ve seen these types of signs or flyers before.  It read, “If you aren’t helping to stop domestic violence, you are supporting it.”  Really? I feel strongly about domestic violence.  I have loved ones who at one time or another in their lives were violently abused: physically, mentally, and emotionally, by either a husband or father. However, you won’t see me tangibly supporting the cause to end domestic violence.  My time, energy, and finances are limited.  I simply do not have the available resources.  However, I am passionate about it, and it makes me a little angry that someone (whether I know them or not) would say that I support abuse in a home.

There are many causes I am passionate about because of things I have experienced in my life.  I have great concern for the care of the elderly, especially those who have no family members to visit them regularly.  However, I have yet to go with a group to sing or do crafts at nursing homes.  I have thought about it, but never made it. Does that mean I support the abuse and neglect of the elderly too?

I have great empathy for many different groups of people in sad situations, but my plate is full, often with leftovers on it at the end of the day.  I pray for God to help me set my priorities.  “What is most important to accomplish today,” I will ask Him.  Before I commit to something I will think and pray about whether or not I can give it the attention and time it will require to do it efficiently.  Sometimes people do not respond well to this.  My resources are spread out in a lot of different areas, and it can be hard to see them all.

Unfortunately, manipulation and guilt are often used as motivation.  I understand that people feel passionately about their cause and want to do whatever it takes to achieve the desired result.  However, does the end really justify the means?  It is very hard to feel joyful about giving of your time, talent, and money if you are guilted or manipulated into it.  If the choice you are given is that you can either contribute in some way or you are a bad person who doesn’t care about others, how is that edifying to anyone involved?  If the goal of the ministry or cause is to help others, but leaves potential “givers” feeling bad about themselves because they are perceived as selfish or uncaring because they lack the tangible and intangible resources to help out, perhaps the methods need to be reviewed.