Guard Against Mistaken Kindness
1 Jehovah’s people are known for their kind and generous spirit. Often this manifests itself in a material way when we imitate the neighborly Samaritan that Jesus spoke about in his touching parable. (Luke 10:29-37) Yet, some who are not worthy of material assistance may endeavor to take advantage of our kindness. Thus, our love for others must be balanced with “accurate knowledge and full discernment.”—Phil. 1:9.
2 Within the Congregation: For example, someone may say that he is out of work or give other reasons for requesting assistance. At times these individuals are not actively seeking employment but simply wish others to provide them with life’s necessities. Of such ones the apostle Paul ordered: “If anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat.”—2 Thess. 3:10.
3 “Time and unforeseen occurrence” befall us all, so if we are in material need, lacking “our bread for this day,” we should not feel overly anxious, since Jehovah provides for those who love him and are doing his will. (Eccl. 9:11; Matt. 6:11, 31, 32) A needy one may find it beneficial to speak with one of the elders. The elders may be aware of government programs that are set up to provide assistance and may be in a position to help complete the paperwork or understand the requirements for such programs. In any event, the elders can evaluate the circumstances of each one requesting assistance and determine what can be done.—Compare 1 Timothy 5:3-16.
4 Traveling Impostors: The Society continues to receive reports that some in the congregations have been defrauded of money and material things by traveling impostors. This should not surprise us, since the Scriptures warn that “wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” (2 Tim. 3:13) Often these impostors claim that they are stranded and need money in order to obtain transportation and food for a return trip home. Although they may sound sincere, in most cases they are not Jehovah’s Witnesses at all but are only pretending to be.
5 If a stranger asks for assistance, it is wise to consult one of the congregation elders, who can take the lead in determining whether this person is our brother. A telephone call should usually be made to one of the elders in that one’s congregation so that the person’s standing may be confirmed. Genuine brothers and sisters who find themselves unexpectedly in need will understand that this type of inquiry is being made for the protection of all concerned. On the other hand, impostors will be exposed by this sort of scrutiny. There is no need to be unduly suspicious of all who are not known to us, but we must be on guard against wicked impostors.—km 9/80 p. 2.
6 Wise King Solomon advised: “Do not hold back good from those to whom it is owing, when it happens to be in the power of your hand to do it.” (Prov. 3:27) By our wise discernment, we can continue to be merciful while guarding against mistaken kindness.