Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Lady Codependency, a Good Samaritan?

There is a Bible story that (kind of) goes like this …
Lady Codependency was on her way to work one day when a beggar asked her for change.
“Come join me for breakfast,” she said, wanting desperately to please God and to be the Good Samaritan in Luke’s Gospel.
Ten minutes and 20 dollars later, Lady Codependency told the guy that she was not a shareholder of Au Bon Pain, nor a food pantry.
For the next month, the beggar stalked Lady Codependency on her way to work. Prince Not-So-Codependent (Lady Codependency’s husband) finally logged onto MapQuest to find an alternative route for his codependent bride.
A year later, Lady Codependent still hadn’t found a way to be both compassionate and street savvy. Following the suggestion of a friend, she bought a packet of McDonald’s certificates to give to beggars. That would insure that none of her money went to drugs.
But the first bum Lady Codependent handed one to got up from the street corner where he sat and angrily ran after her. “I don’t want your f….. coupon! What’s the matter with you, lady?” he screamed for a few blocks.


A few months after that, Lady Codependency met a bookstore clerk who was short on cash.
“Do you know anyone who needs a mother’s helper?” the clerk, wearing a pink breast cancer awareness pin, asked Lady Codependency, who decided to hire the the young woman for eight hours a week. Which turned out to be a great deal for Lady Codependency: she shelled out five dollars an hour to the clerk in exchange for getting to babysit the clerk’s daughter.
All of that didn’t prevent Lady Codependent on her mission to become the Good Samaritan. She’d go to great lengths to earn her compassion badge so she didn’t end up like the evil Levite, a disgrace of a human being who didn’t assist that man on the road who had been robbed, attacked, and left to die. The horror!
So a few weeks later, Lady Codependency was exiting her favorite coffee shop with a grande cappuccino in her hand, feeling especially guilty for indulging in this pleasure when there are homeless people right in her town.
“Ma’am, Ma’am,” a middle-aged woman said to Lady Codependency. “This is an emergency, Ma’am. I need $2.50. I just had a miscarriage. I need some women’s stuff.”
Now Lady Codependency is really codependent, but she is not a moron. She was 99.9 percent sure the woman was high, really high, on some drugs that Lady Codependency sort of wished she could get her hands on. And she didn’t appreciate the woman using the excuse of a miscarriage to get cash, if she, in fact, hadn’t had one. (The chances of that were great.) This smelled like a scam stronger than Lady Codependency’s cappuccino smelled like heaven. But if, in the .01 percent this woman was telling the truth, Lady Codependency would have spent $2.50 on her coffee but not on a person in need. She thought about Luke’s Gospel, and dang it, she wasn’t going to be that evil Levite. So she handed the woman the money.
The woman immediately ran off to her friends, giggling and laughing.
One week later, some boys rang the doorbell at Lady Codependency’s residence.
“We’re trying to improve our chances of having a life like you do: a house, kids, and so on,” they said to her with droopy eyes like Lady Codependency’s dogs when they were mere puppies. She felt the blood pouring out all over whatever they were going to sell her. She wanted to invite them in, give them her checking book (“Could I just write a check or two from it every month?”), feed them (take them to Au Bon Pain, like the first beggar), order some clothes for them off
“Could you just please buy a magazine from us?” the guys begged her.
“Of course,” Lady Codependency replied, and ordered a subscription of “Parenting” magazine for the bargain price of $50 (which is $38 more than a regular-priced subscription).
Just then Lady Codependency’s phone rang, and the solicitor for a charity asked Lady Codependency for the “decision maker” in the house. She told him that there weren’t any in her house (phew).
One month later (yesterday, in fact), Lady Codependency was leaving the public library when she noticed that an unkempt, hairy man had followed her out into the parking lot. She was frightened because her car was parked at the farthest part of the lot, and no one was around.
“Ma’am,” the man yelled approaching Lady Codependency. “I need a favor. I’m in a horrible place. I lost all my things. I’ve just called my pastor and he won’t help me out. Ma’am, I don’t know what to do …”
Lady Codependency froze because she was terrified that this man was about to either rob her or rape her. If she went to give him money and looked down to her change purse, he might take that opportunity to grab her and force her into the car.
“Ma’am, I don’t want to trouble you. I saw you working in the library there with your computer ….. Ma’am, do you know where a man can earn and honest 85 cents?”
“You need 85 cents?” Lady Codependency asked with a quivering, nervous voice.
“Yes, Ma’am,”
So she dug into her change purse without averting her eyes and practically threw the change at him because she didn’t want him to touch her hand. She was too afraid that he would grab her wrist.
Shaking, Lady Codependency climbed into her chariot, I mean car.
The next day (today), the same woman who asked Lady Codependency for $2.50 because of a miscarriage approached her again.
“Ma’am! I just ran out of gas. Ma’am, this is an emergency! Can you spare me some money?” she asked Lady Codependency.
“You hit me up yesterday,” said Lady Codependency, quite disillusioned from her attempts at compassion and wondering if maybe the Good Samaritan has some codependency issues himself and needs to do some boundary building exercises and go to therapy.

  • miz_dj

    having lived major metro areas with huge homelessness issues: DC, San Francisco, Portland – there’s no real way to ease your mind, no quick answer. Because that’s making a judgement, a book by its cover, to try to parse the “really needy” from the “drug addicted” (who might be one and the same.)
    you can send your $2.50 to a gulf coast recovery effort. volunteer at a shelter. collect hotel toiletries and donate them en masse. work for habitat for humanity. Remember and help those less fortunate in a way that creates lovingkindness.

  • jevett

    I think you should take out the “f” out of “f………coupon” … really, when did profanity become a adjective?

  • Diana

    It seems that this person who knows a lady who is generous and thinks that to give means you are codependent. Random acts of kindness are good for a person. I guess that the person telling the story feels that the people in need are just taking advantage of her kindness though and that isn’t good. The idea of giving out a food coupon seemed like a good one. If the street person did not want the coupon he or she could have just given it back instead of cussing around about it.

  • julia

    This is a tough one. When I was 18 I was traveling through South Dakota, leaving home for a year-long volunteer position based in California. My friend and I stopped for gas near a reservation where I had helped rebuild houses a few years earlier. I had stayed in touch with some of the children I had met there and had sent them clothing, toys, and letters in the intervening years. I still felt a strong emotional attachment to the people of the area, so when a scraggly-looking man of about 40 approached me and asked for gas money, I gave him $20–quite a large sum for someone who had $350 to make it through the next 6 months on the road. Still, I basked in the Samaritan glow and felt proud and humbled to be able to serve. A few miles down the road, my friend asked me if I had noticed the tracks on the man’s arm. No, I hadn’t. My friend assured me that he had seen them and that my $20 would certainly be spent on the man’s drug of choice.
    I was mortified, of course, and deflated and confused. I felt betrayed, as though the whole community had been snickering every time I sent a child gloves or a letter. It was years before I could feel good giving again–I was trapped in the same guilt/fear cycle that Lady Codependency was feeling. I got to a point where I not only refused to give money, but I refused to acknowledge the person asking. I might have convinced some beggars that I was hard of hearing or too wrapped up in whatever else I was doing to hear or see them, but I couldn’t avoid the truth that I just didn’t have an answer.
    The only problem with faking deafness is that I’m ignoring someone, judging them unworthy of my time and attention. If someone asked for directions, would I walk by without acknowledging them? No way! I can’t remember where I heard this (NPR, probably) but someone who worked with the homeless said that the number one complaint of those on the streets is that no one treats them like human beings, like individuals with names and personal histories. I may not be able to solve the dilemma of how to respond to each request, much less solve the financial woes of everyone on the street, but I can certainly acknowledge the humanity and dignity of everyone I meet. So, I can now walk around with gift certificates for McDonald’s, Whole Foods, whatever, but even if that fails, I can try to give recognition and respect.

  • Kia

    There was a book I once read, “When Helping is Hurting”. The title says it all. Many years ago I worked in Crisis Intervention and was really surpised at the amount of money that panhandlers or whatever you want to call me made. A lot more money that I’ve ever made in a day. So next time you are approched, just think…do I want to encourage this person to continue this kind of lifestyle?

  • Sandi

    My friends and I have discussed the issue of giving to beggars in parking lots, etc. We have come to this conclusion: we would rather give a little money to ten undeserving people than pass up one who really needed it. I always look these people in the eye and call them “sir” or “ma’am.” Depending of the person asking for help, I pray with them, give them a hug, or give them a simple “God bless you.” I’ve received so many blessings from these encounters, blessings that no amount of money could buy. This does not mean that you shouldn’t watch out carefully for your personal safety by parking near a light, not stopping for a group of beggars, not opening up your vehicle where someone could get inside it, etc.

  • Yames

    Wow! Reading some of these posts, it’s very clear that a lot of people aren’t getting the message of this story. Codependency has virutally nothing to do with God or “blessings”. It has everything to do with letting yourself get involved with a person or in a situation that is, ultimately not good for you, but not feeling able to extricate yourself from the person/situation without feeling guilt, remorse or worse, feeling like you can’t live the life you deserve to live wihtout giving in to other’s demands/wishes/requests. This isn’t a story about being charitable, per se – it’s about being charitable when you don’t really feel you want to be and the guilt that comes about as a result if you don’t give in. It’s a terrible and frustrating position to be in. I’m not saying “don’t be charitable, don’t be giving of yourself”. I AM saying that you can establish boundaries for yourself, that you can say “NO” without guilt and that by doing so your life can be enriched, instead of overwhelmed by the feeling of “I’m not a good person because I didn’t abide by so-and-so’s wishes” or “I didn’t do enough”, etc. I know this is grossly oversimplified – but for most of the folks who posted – you’re missing the entire point! And to the person that had an issues with the “f……” – lighten up, please.

  • Bella

    We are not to judge another (however, we all do, to some extent or another, whether we want to or not, and we do have intuition, whether we want it or not). I give, trying not to make a judgment, to everyone who asks. If I sense I’m being scammed, I may give only a quarter because I was asked and because I was told not to judge (difficult to do, I know). But I live in a very poor city in an extremely poor state, and I’ve learned that most of the people here who ask for money need it. The real poor have a look in their face and eyes that can’t be faked. Neither can too-skinny bodies, sun-burned faces and blistered lips. And what we don’t normally see is the myriad number of families who don’t have enough food to feed their children and/or who can’t buy gas with these gas prices to make it to their work. Try to give to a reputable agency in your city who will help the poor and homeless without making the poor/homeless jump through hoops.

  • Ra

    I think this is an issue that many of us face: we want to help others who are truly in need, but we don’t want to be taken advantage of….nothing wrong with that is there? Sometimes it is just hard to know where to draw the lines.

  • Smith

    Thanks ‘Yames’. You describe me to a ‘T’. My last two relationships, one I married and the other I was about to marry was exactly as you describe a Co-Dependent to be. I always want to help b/c God has blessed me with so much, but then I don’t know how to stop. I cannot figure out the ‘boundary’ then I end up in a relationship that ultimately turns out to be bad for me. My Pastor said the same thing, say ‘NO’. Thanks so much for your message and allowing God to use you to minister to me and hopefully others that will read your message. God Bless you!!!!

  • Candahope

    I agree with the last person. Being charitable and helping others is different then letting people take advantage of you & allowing them to make you feel guilty for not giving enough. I’ve now been on both sides & although I faught and would never admit my co-dependency. I became one of the worst. luckily by the time I’ve hit 30, I learned how to say no…well most of the time. I still have compassion and do feel guilty and question whether or not I should have done more to help the begger, Or to help the addict that I love. But there comes a time when you have to stop and take care of yourself. And I always acknowledge them smile & say I’m sorry I can’t today if I even question (although I usually really can’t.)It’s important to pray about it & God will show you who to help & what you need to do without you becoming Ladycodependency.

  • Ellen

    I am in full agreements with Yames. It has NOTHING to do with God or “blessings”. Coming from being very co-dependent and still stuggling with it.

  • Crissy

    This person sounds like me. And I have been taken many times. Some scam people are good, such as asking for an odd amount of money – $26 – showing me broken fingers. I may have just been scammed by someone like this, but it hurts to think I may have turned someone away. And yes, we all need to set our boundaries. I have taken risks by opening my purse in front of a beggar when no one was around . . .I am not an “unintelligent” person.
    My feelings just get in the way . . .then when I walk away I realize I put myself in danger. I don’t know the answer to what to do or not do . . .I just wanted to let this person feel not so alone

  • kay

    We are all God’s children, and we all get hungry. Not everyone has a safe place to fall. Family is so important, and if I was a betteing person, alot of these homelsess people had no mentors in their life. Almost like idiots having more idiots. (no disrespect). It is becoming a sad world. I believe in giving food over money. then you know when you walk away, they will not be hungry for a while again. God Bless the good samaratians. Keep the faith people.

  • samantha

    My first encounter with a homeless person was when I was 14 in Durango Colorado. I grew up in a suburb of Dallas Texas where you don’t see any homeless people. But this trip to Colorado changed my life!
    My family decided on a whim to get out of town for Christmas and finally decided on Durango. We were eating at this five star restraunt and behind me was this huge window looking out to the cold snow filled streets. Near the window was a man digging in the trash can looking to find his Christmas Eve dinner. All of a sudden I lost my appetite. Within seconds instinctly I began to smuggle food off the table and into a napkin. My father began to notice food disappearing off the table but not into my mouth. I finally explained to him what I saw and how I can’t eat knowing someone not even 10 feet away is out in the bitter cold digging in the trash can for a meal. How is it fair for me to eat this food but for another human being to be left to eating who knows what? My father and I made an agreement that if I eat then we will go and buy this man food once we are through with our meal.
    We finished and walked outside were it was snowing and looked for the man. He was gone. But I being the persistent teen told my dad we had to still go the store or gas station and pick up the food and then look for him. Staying true to his word we went to the gas station which was the only thing opened at 10pm Christmas Eve night. WE got bags of food and drove around this quite town. Up and down street after street we saw no sign of this man. My dad was getting frustrated and about to give up when I told him to turn down this alley. He did. In the corner huddled up was the gentleman. He was a bit scared at first as we drove up staying in the corner. My dad told him we just wanted to give him some food. Slowly he stood up and walked hesitantly toward our car. My dad put the bags through the window and on the ground. We started to drive away and then stopped. He looked in the bags and then up to us. He smiled. We smiled. We told him God Bless. I don’t remember if he ever exchanged in words back to us.
    That was the night that changed my path in life. A seed was planted inside of me that said this was my purpose in some way. Now 28 years old. Out in Los Angeles California. I use to be in the fashion industry. However on the side I did my own work. Feeding homeless. Bringing them into restaurant at times. Clothing them. Most importantly treating them like a person, a friend. quite the fashion industry feeling empty and not true to what I was suppose to be doing. I know still work with homeless. And yes at times I feel overwhelmed and discouraged. But I know this is my purpose in some way. God planted that seed in me at 14 years old and no matter what path I have chosen to go down I still am brought back to helping those less fortunate. I can say this. These people have impacted my life and enriched my life more than I have theirs. They have made me be grateful for what I have and appreciate each day given to me and appreciate my family and friends and strangers. I do sometimes feel that I may be a bit naive and to giving however I pray God will direct me and show me how I can help these people without enabling them.

  • Ann Phillip

    I once was a sucker for every person asking for a handout. No more. I have offered to buy food for some but always been turned down. I used to give money until a gent, standing in front of my grocery store) gave me a sob story and wanted money. I was laid off and told him I had little for myself. He then told me I should do what he did.. stand in front of a store and beg. He said he had a room mate that did the same and between the two of them they got enough to pay the rent and eat. My Pastor told us he always offered an honest days work at our church to people who asked him (at $20 an hour) and not one took him up on his offer. He says (and I agree) the people who truly need and deserve help are usualy too proud to ask for it.

  • Jessie

    I think you have to follow your heart in almost everything you do. If people abuse a “gift” then it’s on their head, not yours. Once you “give” something it’s no longer yours so you have no say as to what anyone does with it.

  • mimi

    This is the Christmas letter we sent out last year – talk about co-dependent!!! Everyone loved it though. I thought you would enjoy it.Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays:
    I thought these 4 xmas experiences of ours would be funny to share. Kind of goofy, but it’s nice to be goofy once in a while in this serious world. Hope you enjoy them like we did.
    . Re-gifting
    . Haven’t we met before?
    . Think before you speak to strangers
    . Never assume anything
    . Regifting:
    We were living in Florida one Christmas and I was on my way to pick Hank up at the airport. I stopped in a long left turn lane and a “panhandler” was making his way down the line toward my car – stopping at each car talking and sometimes taking things or money or something. While watching him, I was anxious for the light to turn so I could go before he got to my car, but no such luck.
    As he approached my car, I couldn’t just ignore him so I rolled down the window to explain and apologize (?) for not having any money to give to him (which was true) although I was dressed up, had all my “bling” on and was sitting in a nice, clean car and probably looked (to him) like a spoiled brat or something.
    He shook my hand and introduced himself as Jerry and told me not to worry about it. We started talking (long light) and he told me he was a Vietnam vet down on his luck. I had seen him on that corner many times before and told him so and I told him he looked like he was in pretty good shape and wasn’t so “hard up”. He told me he worked out and tried to keep in shape. We exchanged pleasantries and then the light finally changed so we said our goodbyes.
    My car was inching forward toward the left turn when I heard my name called. Jerry was bending down on the side of the road and was digging something out of his pant leg and yelling at me to wait. I yelled back that I had to go and started to move the car faster – all the while rather concerned that he was frantically wrestling something down his pant leg – although I have to admit to watching him out of the corner of my eye. He finally got whatever he was trying to get out of the bottom of his pant leg and ran to my car, reached in my window and handed it to me. “It” being a nice, cold can of Budweiser Beer that someone up ahead of me in the line had given to him. He said he wanted me to have it because I had been so friendly to him. I told him “no thanks” but he insisted. Traffic was really moving so I just accepted the beer, thanked Jerry and drove away with a wave and a smile.
    When I arrived at the airport parking garage, there was a different panhandler there so I stopped my car and gave him the nice cold beer and told him “Merry Christmas”. He was very appreciative. So you see, regifting is a good thing. That beer went from someone in the car lane to a panhandler to another person in a car (me) to another panhandler – with the best Christmas good will.
    . Haven’t we met before?
    Hank was turning onto the ramp to the expressway in Florida during another Christmas season. There was a clean cut young guy with a duffle bag at the ramp holding a sign that said something about “needing to get to Michigan”. Well (being from Michigan himself), Hank stopped and asked him if he could give him a lift and the guy jumped in. While driving, the young man explained that he had come to Florida looking for a Summer job, had interviewed for the job and had lost his wallet and had to hitchhike home to Michigan (or something like that – blah, blah, and blah). Hank liked the guy and gave him a lift to the next exit and also gave him about $50.00 to help him get home – it being the Christmas season and all. At the next exit the guy jumped out of the car and thanked Hank profusely. They shook hands and both went on their way – each happy for their encounter with great feelings of Christmas good will. What a nice ending to a Christmas story.
    Imagine Hank’s surprise the next week when he was turning onto the same ramp on to the same expressway at the same time of day and there stood the same clean cut young man, hitchhiking with the same duffel bag and the same sign.
    Oh well, God bless us all – every one.
    . Think Before You Speak To Strangers (even at Christmas):
    Hank and I had just arrived in the Big Apple on the train to celebrate Christmas there in the city. It was the first time I was ever in NYC and the first time ever on a train. I was standing in awe at Grand Central Station and Hank had gone to get our luggage. While standing there in the milling crowd, through the people I spotted a little, ancient lady street person, dragging her belongings, dressed in multiple layers of dirty clothing and for some reason, staring at me intently and heading right for me. I stood there transfixed staring right back at her while she pushed her way rudely through the crowds – hypnotizing me with her eyes and still coming towards me – closer and closer. When she was about 3 feet away from me, I (being so friendly and happy to be in the Big Apple and it being the Christmas season and all), smiled my best smile at her and said “Why hello there, sweetie, how are you? Merry Christmas to you!” At which she got right into my face and screeched “WHORE” at the top of her lungs while spewing apple all over me. She then passed by me all the while still shooting hate daggers at me with her eyes and screaming invectives until she gradually disappeared into the crowd.
    I looked around in embarrassment and shock, but she was gone and no one seemed the least bit interested in me or what had just transpired. While I was wiping myself off and trying not to cry, Hank appeared right then and seeing the look on my face asked me what had happened. I told him the story and we both looked around for the perpetrator, but she was gone. He then looked at me and said, “Welcome to New York and Merry Christmas”. No truer words were ever spoken.
    Years later we met a former cop from NYC and I told him this story. He laughed and laughed and told me I had met up with the “infamous” “Apple Annie” who lived underground at Grand Central Station and was known to terrorize and accost people getting on and off the trains, all the while shouting invectives and eating an apple. So you see, I do meet famous people!
    . Never Assume Anything
    During another Christmas trip, Hank and I were traveling by car in Arizona through some small town and decided to stop for lunch at a little diner. As we were walking inside the diner, a man was there, on the sidewalk, standing ramrod straight with a World War II uniform on – the cap and everything. He was clean, proud and was just standing there looking straight ahead and not acknowledging anyone. He had a peg leg and was holding a cane.
    We were impressed with him and walked into the diner and sat down. I told Hank I wanted to go out there and thank that guy for being a WWII vet and give him some money for lunch – kind of like a Christmas present from a stranger. Hank told me he didn’t think the guy was looking for money, and recommended I don’t go out there and to leave the man alone. I went anyway, and being the sweet, generous person I am (or so I thought at the time) I took some money and told Hank I would be right back. He just shook his head and watched me go.
    I got outside and approached the WWII gentleman and said something like this… “Hi, I was just admiring you and wanted to thank you for fighting for our country during WWII, and would like to give you this money to…” Well, no sooner had I mentioned the word money when the man looks down at me, raises his cane above his head and bellows, “WHY YOU…” and lunges toward me. It was so sudden and I was so startled and frightened that I turned and started to run away. The guy starts to run after me!!! Totally freaked, I took off faster and ran all the way around the little diner, but he was right behind me the whole way waving his cane! I didn’t have to turn around and look because I could hear the distinct click, click, click of his peg leg right behind me and I felt the “swish” of his cane. Hank saw us run by the window, but just remained sitting inside the diner calmly drinking his coffee.
    Eventually, I came back around to the front door of the diner and flew inside, but the man stayed outside. I slammed into the booth across from Hank, grabbed the table for support and huffing and puffing began to tell Hank what had transpired. He calmly told me he had watched me run by the front window while drinking his coffee. Incredulous and shocked, I inquired as to why he hadn’t done anything to help me, but just sat there inside while I was being accosted outside by a madman. He told me (“Aahhhhh, Grasshopper…) that it had been my decision, not his, to take a chance on insulting the poor guy and he figured I got myself into the situation and would get myself out of it.
    Just then the waitress came up and asked me if I had, by any chance, tried to give the WWII gentleman outside some money. I admitted doing so and she told me that was the worst thing I could do. Evidently, “Joe” the veteran, stood outside the diner each and every day in his WWII uniform and had been doing it for years. In his own way, he was proudly showing people he was a veteran and had fought and been wounded for his country. She said he absolutely hated it when people tried to give him money and considered it an insult. Hank looked at me and asked me if I had learned anything from that little adventure.
    I admitted I had. I told him I was really impressed as to how fast that guy could run with his peg leg. So, it was a good lesson for me about assumptions.
    May your Christmas Season be Peaceful, Healthy and Beautiful. May the New Year bring you fun adventures.
    Mimi and Hank, Buster, Muffin and Misty

  • Patricia

    Oh my God – it is not about being homeless! It is about feeling guilty or unworthy of what you have, could be money, looks, love, possesions…and giving in to what others ask of you because you tell yourself you sympathize with their plight and in fact you are the one with the problems! They make choices, one of which is to use you – and you comfort yourself by saying you are the better person. Then you ask yourself why people take advantage of you, convince yourself you are going to be stronger – you find yourself in a position in which you display strength – and then you fell guilty. You are locked in a cycle of tearing yourself down when other people aren’t actively doing it – and it is Hell. For gosh sakes – no offense, but who cares if you gave a dollar to a homeless person? Are you all co-dependant? Why are you trying to share your story of what a nice person you are with strangers and trying to encourage us to take a leap and give to the homeless, when this is a tale about how helpless SHE was?!

  • Emily Cragg

    The implication of this article is that there is no way to help without becoming enmeshed in need.
    This is a cynical and needless judgment. Further, it’s a repudiation of the Seed Money and the Law of Tenfold Return, which has always worked just fine for me.
    How To Be Mercenary One-A is a subject I really don’t need, thanks anyway.

  • Sonya A.

    I use to be a “little” co-dependent myself in another life, I will still help others when I can, but I do not put myself in danger or wear my heart on my sleeve anymore. If I am “used or abused” after I try to assist someone, it is not my problem to watch what they do after I give. It’s on them after it leaves my hand! Plus that I allow God to speak to my heart in all things.

  • julie

    There is so much more than this to codependancy. When you go into a family structure and analyze the damage this behavior does over the span of YEARS, this behavior takes on a life of it’s own. Parents give give give to children who become irresponsible, self oriented, spoiled and malfunctioning adults and the cycle perpetuates itself. Children who grow up with this hobbling lifestyle cannot stand on their own and have poor self esteem and a batch of other problems such as abusing drugs and their mates. There is no underestimating these issues here. I wish it was just one person who feels responsible for the bums on the street giving 5 bucks here and there.

  • Sandy

    I am very codependent. It’s a very hard not to want to help people. I inherited $250,000.00 once and most of it went ot people who were almost ready to lose their homes. The feeling and rush you get from being able to help someone is quite addicting; almost like a drug.
    In fact, It was my way of getting “high” so to say.
    I eventually lost my home and everything I owned. My house was forclosed on and when I drove out of the drive way, I had no idea where I was going to go. I struggled and scrapped my way back to being able to start over. It’s funny how things work, though. The message I kept giving myself was “What would Jesus do?” I thought I was doing what was right.
    God works in very mysterious ways and one needs to be open to be able to understand what he is doing. I thought I was being punished for not taking care of myself, first. I began to wonder if I had done the right thing. It took several months of hard work, tears, sweat, and being humble enought to ASK for help(which is very hard for codependent people). I found myself wanting to die and eventually sought out help from a pastor.
    Everything happens for a reason and I recently realized why I was put through the pain and trauma. I found a nice home to rent (through a total stranger who stood up for me and talked the landlord, despite my rotten credit, into renting to me, and I just landed a dream job that pays more than I ever thought and with benefits that are better than I’ve ever had. I am able to help people without compromising my own welfare. Since moving, my old neighborhood has turned very violent.
    Codepenency can be very dangerous to someone who does not know how to control it. I learned the hard way and almost gave in and lost my life because of it.
    Also, remember…If you decide to help your friends, family or others, don’t expect them to help you in return if you find yourself down on your luck. They will most likely become extremely unaccessable or down right nasty. I never lend money. I would rather give it to you then to lend it becasue if you expect someone to pay you back and they don’t, it can cause hurt feelings. If they pay you back, well it’s a blessing.

  • Pat

    I have not had the funds to be able to give for several years, I have a lot of debt I haven’t been able to pay off. When I have to say Sorry, I don’t have it, I’m telling the truth.
    However, I do have a way to help in this type of situation. If you give in your heart as if you are giving to God and not the person, you put God into the picture. He then has the responsibility and the ability to step in and judge those who are not right. He gets to deal with them. I’ve seen dealings and they are not pretty, but people usually learn something from them. God changes them. With this attitude you will never feel as if you were taken and you will put God in charge.
    I don’t believe guilt is of God because it puts up barriers in our lives and separates us. It stops our progress. He shows us where we are wrong so we can repent, which just means turn around. Change direction. Feeling sorry is a lot different than feeling guilty. Sorry is forgiven. Guilty has no positive value. God loves us and deals with us but I truly believe that HE NEVER PUTS US DOWN..

  • Tracy

    i am a 24 year old female from balitmore maryland. i think that people should give when they can give. you shouldnt try to save everyone because you would end up like those people you tried to save right??

  • Devar

    In the story, there was a man who asked for a way to EARN 85 cents. I noticed a whole different feel to that request than the ones for hand-outs. It brings to mind the old saying about teaching a man to fish being better than just giving him a fish.
    I’ve noticed that people who are taking advantage tend to object when I express my boundaries; where as reasonable people, who actually do just need a little help to get back on track, tend to respect the boundaries of other people.
    When I am asked for money on the street, if I feel safe enough, willing and able to acknowledge them, I say “I only give food. If you want food, we will go to the store and get you some together.” I have had beggars then say “Oh. No thanks then.” Obviously, they are WELL fed to be declining such an offer!
    I believe the question of where co-dependency mimics charity is different for each person, and maybe even in each moment and situation. It’s up to each of us to figure that one out for ourselves based on the emotional payback. If the giver is enjoying giving, then it is charity but when the giving is motivated by guilt and fear of being “bad” otherwise, then THAT is codependency.
    I’ve heard that “God loves a CHEERFUL giver”. I used to interpret that to mean that I had to give whenever I was asked, and be cheerful about it. Now I understand it the other way around: God only wants us to give what we enjoy giving, and when we can feel good about it.
    I hope this helps… I enjoyed writing it and it helped me clarify my own understanding in this department!

  • Mainemcq6

    Excellent, thought provoking article. God gave us discernment for a reason. Assisting at a food pantry and a soup kitchen has shown me that most people need a word of encouragement and a warm smile as much as they do the food. May God richly bless your day in a very special way. :) He loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Wish you had a sjngle sister Therese.

  • Darlene

    This article made me think, just what are we to do. I guess I am somewhat like this person and have tried to help people that are in need, not so much in need of money on the street, but in need of emotional support, in need of a friend. It seems the result is being used, when we exted out the hand God meant us to, it gets snapped off, in fact, I have actually been told, point blank, by a man that he was just using me to get some things done.
    It’s a difficult world we live in, I wander if there is an answer at times.

  • Patricia

    And more to the point, feeling this way is painful, there is an emptiness you can’t fill by giving things away, contribute to a person’s life, kind words mean as much – direct them towards a shelter – if they want help – give them that. You are teaching them to fish, as it were. I am not a cynic – I just feel if a person asks you for something, of yourself, without giving back anything, or worse – telling you it’s not enough, you have to ask yourself if you wish you’d been able to make them happy or you could make yourself happy without pleasing everyone. And no, Chai, that is not the issue. This piece is not about the recipients of the Lady’s charity – it is about why she gives and what she is doing to herself.

  • Lori

    I have been and still am like the woman in the story. I will do anything i can for anyone. I don’t always have money to give but if i have what u need i will give it. I don’t do it for any other reason but to help people.
    I would wonder why they always come to me and i would ask God what is my purpose in life and without fail someone would knock on my door. If that is codependency well then i am one.
    I am not going to stop helping people but i only do what i can witout hurting my family and kids.

  • Jaki Beavers

    While giving is good, it is important not be anyone’s “fool”. We all know that people will play on our conscience and try to take advantage of us … a lot of times you can feel in your gut when someone is real and when they are scamming you. If isn’t taking anything away from you to help people here and there along the way, then do it with the right heart and move on. If it becomes a habit then you need to reevaluate and take precautions. Some people make a living (they make more money than those of us who hold down full-time jobs) at putting together scams to set other people up. This is sad but very true! Talk to God and let the Holy Spirit be your guide. Even those in sincere need are going to have to learn at some point to help themselves. God said if you take one step, I’ll take two. Sometimes you can cripple a person when you keep giving and don’t make them do something for themselves. Teach them to fish!!

  • Linda M

    My father taught me years ago, he use to do the same thing. I would offer to get some one in need a meal but no money. In all the times I have had people approach me wanting money, because they where hungry only one was grateful for the meal I bought him. Other wanted a regular meal not the sandwich I offered. Or need cash only. I take cans of food to local mission, give clothing to the Salvation Army and support the needed that way. I have had people stop and want to work for some cash. They worked first them got small amount of money.
    As to leaving the “f” off no it should be there so people understand just had it can really be. Some cities have vouchers that can be given to the needed.
    You can help more by giving to missions or food banks then feeding their addictions with money.
    I do not feel bad when I say no to giving money because I am saying no to helping you destroy yourself. The Good Samatan was about helping some one in needed not helping the need in some one.

  • Cristy

    I think the word co dependent is used to much these days. Any time a person is happy helping people they are titled co dependent. However I do see that some people are co dependent, such as always helping friends and family out of jail or with their drug addiction. Some times it is hard to see people suffer when they need to, to realize their mistakes and make a change in their life.
    However, I think people can be greedy. To give a homeless person a few cents is not going to hurt anyone.

  • Elle

    This woman is definitely co-dependent. She has no boundaries. Helping someone doesn’t mean that you cross boundaries that harm yourself and the other; sometimes the help you give the others are harmful. There are people who pretend to be homeless to make a living, some do it for drugs and others are homeless, but there are places to go and if they are mental, well than there still are places to go. Give from the heart, not from the guilt of what others would think of you… This woman has placed herself in danger more than she should have… Again, she has no boundaries.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings here, but the article is about codependency. This is a type of personality disorder that has to do with the lack of healthy boundaries and a feeling of being responsible to everyone. It stems from a fear of being disliked or not being a good person and the biggest symptom is giving too much. This is unhealthy to both the giver and the receiver, for many reasons. The giver is often spread too thinkly and is giving away out of guilt or the need to please and is in reality taking away from the people in his or her own life in order to do so. The receiver is hurt because he is getting from others instead of learning to take care of himself.
    If you have ever read anything about alcoholic families, one is the addict and the other the enabler or the co-dependent. It is the same situation. The co-dependent is partially responsible for keeping the alcoholic in the same self destructive pattern. They do it to be accepted. It is not at all healthy.
    Several of the comments I read are clear indications that the point of this article was missed and that some of the readers think we have to give to everyone in order to be like Christ.
    It is our adult responsibility to help others, but we need to be realistic enought to know when our help will go to good use, or when it will just serve to keep a drug addict or alcoholic or just a thief in the same pattern…by manipulating people into feeling pity or guilt in order to take enough money for another hit or another bottle of rot gut wine, or just to be taking for the fun of taking.
    We are expected to be bold with people like this and offer then words that will make them think that they cannot get away with taking from others, using others and manipulating others for their own selfish needs.
    I followed a van one morning because I noticed that they dropped off one of those people with the will work for food signs…and then they dropped off another and another and another. Those people have jobs…their job is to sit on a corner all day and make you feel sorry enought for them to give them some money. Just try offering them a job and see what happens. They have a boss and I am sure he gets a cut of the profit.
    If you feel that you might be risking the approval of God by not givining, then follow your conscience, but I feel that God wants me to use the brain he gave me to take care of myself while also being charitable in a wise manner.
    The F in f— did not bother me as much as others because it was used to express what the real world is like out there…I also say lighten up.

  • Jenna

    There is a difference between helping someone who cannot help themself and helping someone who can help themself. A wounded person left on the side of the road needs help. A person standing on the side of the road using self-pity to make a living is a con-artist. Jesus wants us to help those who cannot help themselves. Satan wants us to feel guilty for not helping someone who based on outward appearance makes us think they need help. God created us. God gave us our emotions (emotional). God gave us our intellect (mental=mind). The Emotional and the Mental must always be in balance. Codependent behavior is helping someone who can help themself. Being a Christian or Good Samaritan is helping someone who cannot help themself.

  • Ray Bigge

    How well I can identify with Lady Codependency. Year before last, I had a neighbor who was very friendly, very smart, outrageously funny and a good friend. I enjoyed his company greatly. One night when I returned from work, he cornered me and pleaded to borrow $40. The only thing he didn’t do was to get on his knees and beg. He called it an “emergency”…”Please, please, help me.” Very reluctantly I handed over the $40, and then he begged for a ride into Camden (NJ). Here I saw my way out, telling him I don’t like to drive at night because I can’t see detail. He said, “I’ll drive.” Now he had me. I couldn’t think of a polite way to say “no”, and I caved into his pressure. On the way back from Camden, a cop tried to pull us over and the neighbor led the cop on a high-speed chase. He finally slammed my car into a fence, jumped from behind my wheel and fled on foot. He trashed my car. I ended up in handcuffs in Camden County jail, but was released in the wee hours of the morning after making a statement. That fateful night was my 9/11, and I learned the hard way that the neighbor was a drug addict and had used my money and my car to buy heroin. I never had the remotest clue that he had a drug habit. He kept his habit very well hidden. I subsequently lost my job because of difficulty getting to work, then lost my apartment because I couldn’t pay my rent. My only comfort is that this former neighbor is now doing 5 years in prison for what he did. The moral of this story is to ask lots of questions when a good friend/neighbor asks to borrow money. I trusted him and didn’t ask questions. And he turned my life upside down.

  • Mary Ellen

    The Bible tells us to “judge and be ye judged” therefore I long ago decided to be like Jesus and give from the heart without analyzing the requestor nor condemning their need(s). The Good Samaritan in the Bible never stopped to ask the wounded man questions nor did he analyze the situation and assume the man was victim or perp…all he did was offer help…pure and simple. The Bible tells us to love each other just as He loves us. We are all flawed creatures on this earth and none of us are worthy but He loves us anyway. That is the way we are to love each other. God bless to you all.

  • Kathie

    I agree with Diana’s comments. Random acts of kindness have been bestowed upon me throughout my life and I in turn have passed them on. Yes, there were times I was probably “taken,” but it did not damper my outlook one bit. Yes, there are people who manipulate, but after a time, you hopefully will be able to tell the difference. Codependence on the other hand is a habit of allowing someone on a regular basis to use you or control you, which sadly enough, is usually those closest to someone (if they allow it of course).
    When I was in my mid 20s I saw someone begging for work and money for food. I had a baby at home and was struggling to make ends meet. Still, I went home, bagged up as much food as I could and brought it to the person, who in turn, looked at me with disgust, much like lady codependent’s first encounter. It bothered me for a while, but never ever made me doubt every person thereafter. I have had someone come up to me in a parking lot asking for 2.00 to get enough gas to get home. Her husband was mortified that she asked but I gave her a 5.00, as that is all I had. In their case, I have no doubt they made their way over to the gas station at the end of the parking lot but even if I had a doubt, that 5.00 was better given away than to live the rest of my life so cynical that I would think anyone appearing in need is manipulative. The best movie I have ever seen is called Pay it Forward, and I live my life that way and will never regret it, not ever.

  • Kathie

    I have one more comment on Sandy’s comments. She says she was helped to find a nice home to rent by a “total stranger” and an understandign landlord, even though she had rotten credit, etc.. By your definition then, by helping you, wouldn’t they be codependent?

  • anonomus

    Well I no people who do these things.They sit at gas stations with there baby in the car [the car had no windows in the middle of the winter dont forget the poor inoccent little baby used for bait I guess you would say]They would sit and say they needed gas money to get the baby home.Now Ive had alot of problems in the past yes unfortunatly with drugs and I was very co-dependent.To the point I lost everything that mattered to me.But I can say i got my own money I never pan handled or used my children to get money like that.It sickens me to think that I actually thought those people were my friends when in all actuality they were mere running partners,when I had money they were around and my best friends.But what do you think happened when I was sick and needed a friend or a place to stay?I was sadley mistaken Ill admit I gave change once in a while but in the back of my head I no the terrible things I use to do for money so I ask myself WHY DONT THEY DO THE SAME???Im ashamed of the things Ive done in the past but GOD SAYS ONE DAY AT A TIME AND THTS HOW IM TRYING TO DO IT ONE DAY AT A TIME BECAUSE IM STILL TRYING LIKE HELL TO GET BACK THE MOST IMPOTANT PEOPLE I LOST MYSELF INCLUDED!!!!!!!!!Im not sure if this at all made sense I just no Ive been in hell and if theres any advice i can give to someone ITS VERY LONELY TO SAY THE LEAST.But I try to do the next right thing,whatever the situation!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Deb

    Well first of all, it is against the law to give people on the streets money. Secondly, this is not being a good Samaritain, a good Samaritain would direct the person to a place to go where he could help his own self instead of creating another dependency problem for the slickster. I mean after a point you should realize they must see you comming. And finally you can not please God with works. The Good Samaritain was not thinking about God when he did what he did…he took care of a man who was beaten, and an enemy to him…these people on the streets are usually hooked on drugs. EVEN IF THEY DUP YOU ONCE DOES NOT MEAN THEY SHOULD GET YOU TWICE…FOOL ME FIRST SHAME ON YOU, FOOL ME TWICE SHAME ON ME…

  • Don

    When someone asks me for money I am not concerned nor is it any of my business what they do with it. All I do know is that whether they need the money for drugs or food the fact of the matter is they are reduced to asking strangers for money. That is something nobody can feel good about. I feel sorry for them and give them money. I have it they don’t. So I’ll give it.
    God Bless all and don’t judge others.

  • SuzanneWA

    For thirty years, I was a landlady in my apartment house. Everything was going very well, until the “Millinnium,” when I invited a poor, starving woman with two children to be my apartment manager for free rent. I had surgery shortly thereafter, and after being discharged, was rushed back to the hospital with acute pancreatitis, which put me on life support for three weeks. This same woman handled my bills and other sundries that needed to be done. I signed whatever checks she presented to me, without paying much attention to what they were made out for. When I got home, I promised her $1,000/month + free rent to fix me three meals a day so I wouldn’t have to go to a nursing home to recuperate. I did NOT know this woman was so street smart and a con artist; she was also a crack addict and, pardon my French – a whore, who did it for crack – right there in my apartment house! I learned later that she lived in my apartment for the whole three weeks I was in the hospital! Talk about “co-dependency!”
    In addition, the older woman living in the downstairs apartment was on probation for a crack charge. Once it ended, she was selling me ANYTHING (trash cans, sweaters, etc.), for a $20 to buy crack! I fell for it…My beautiful home was turning into a crack house!
    Needless to say, this HAD TO STOP. I didn’t have the “cojones” to kick them out. I guess you could say I was “buying their friendship,” but NO ONE should be that HARD UP for friends. I ultimately sold the house in 2005, and moved into a condo two blocks away (I LOVED the neighborhood). The two women were forced to find other places to get their fixes…it took me nearly a year to distance myself from their neediness. I ultimately realized what I was doing to myself, AND enabling them in their addictions. I could go on and on about another couple who fleeced me just as well – the husband would wait in the condo parking lot until I got back from shopping to carry in my groceries – for $20! It was a constant “$20 here/$20 there” and I am living only on Social Security Disability and a small pension from my late husband. THIS COULD NOT GO ON…
    “You get too soon alt, and too late schmart…” I learned my lessons the hard way. No, they did NOT bankrupt me – but it was close…now what did you say about “Lady Codependency?” She and I could be “twins separated at birth!

  • Pau Lee

    Yes, I have seen many cases of people taking money and goods from relatives and never thinking to than them for their generosity.
    My wife used to send her family a lot of boxes of food, clothes and personal effects and money to help her relatives in the Philippines.
    Since my wife and I worked and did not have any children we thought this was doing God’s work too. But when I told my wife that she should visit her relatives in the Philippines to see them without me around (as I am a German-American) and really an outsider..she went but not one of her relatives returned the kindness that she offered them all these years. One sister would not even give my wife a glass of water when she visited . No offer of food or refreshments and her newphew was a college student was wearing the clothes that his Aunt had sent him..shirt, pants, and shoes. but he would not even look at his Tita (aunt) and when he did he told her she was (to old) and mocked her openly. My wife was treated with much rudeness as they expected her to buy them all food and treats and would not offer her just a cup of coffee or anything (she sent the one sister five big jars of instant coffee and my wife seen them in her kitchen pantry on the way to the toilet paper was the ultimate insult to my wife..wife has washed her hands of ungrateful greedy relatives.
    There is many more stories of how she was just thought of as a meal ticket and never once do these people have any real love for her.
    My wife’s sister was a widow and flew to the Philippines and told her brother that she could not give him any money as her funds were low.
    The brother told his inday (sister) that she should have taken the airline ticket money and sent it to sister in law asked “don’t you want to see me?” I guess is what talks.
    So now we don’t send money and packages to the Philippines as my wife will help orphan children who have no mother and father..she lost her moter very young and she lost her dad at the age of the family is quite dysfuntional but I am glad that my wife has a good heart. She had to learn the hard way about her family in the Philippines and since then I have heard from other Philippine people and they tell me the same story. How sad.

  • Geeee

    Give of you abundance,not of your sustanience….in portions that have the ability to hand up/ not hand out. That is the voice of mu conscience

  • stan

    she is obviously a needy person. by definition is a person who needs to be needed. She was doing it for the right reasons,she was just putting herself in the wrong places to help out others. Like someone else mentioned…” join habitat for humanity”,so on and so forth..

  • Jeri

    Oh yes! I know this one too! Many, many times I have felt bad because I know I had it and didn’t give it, because I was looking on the outside of the person.
    I, too, have lived in a very Metro city, known for its street people, Chicago. Knowing that I could not get around encountering them, I took matters into my own hands! Because I felt so blessed to just have a job, I decided to give $20 every time I got paid to anyone who stopped and asked me for money. So, I would go and get $20 in $1.00 bills. I would give each one who asked me for money, $1.00. And when those bills were gone; they were gone and I would tell the next person who asked that I was “all out of my giving cash”. And I was. I really felt good doing this, because you never know if that one stranger and homeless person could be an angel. And I didn’t stop there. I often shopped at a food store where you had to put $ .25 to get the cart. What I would do is look for someone who’s coming in to give it to on my way out. Some would offer me their $.25, and I would not accept it, I would just tell them to “pass it on”. Many looked at me very strangely. Whether they did or not, I don’t know; it didn’t matter to me…I just felt good doing “good”. There are all kinds of ways we can do good for others. But, when you do a good deed, do it with the right motives and a good heart. If you have to judge a person before you do a good deed, then your heart isn’t right…”judge not, lest ye be judged”.
    I don’t think this lady is not a codependent; she just doesn’t know and haven’t been creative enough to think of what to do with her blessings, that’s all.
    I read an old Chinese proverb that said: Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart”…..and I’d like to add: Whatsoever you DO, DO with all your heart”

  • Gina

    A good friend told me years ago, “Last I heard, the position of Savior is filled. You don’t need to keep applying for the job.” LOL
    Oh, yes, I was raised to be and probably have somewhat of a natural inclination to co-dependency.
    I used to make the mistake of thinking that my over-empathy would make up for some of the callousness in the world. But, what I discovered is that both are imbalanced attitudes and one isn’t any better than the other.
    Often, the thing that relieves your own guilt is not the best thing for the other person. It’s good to know the difference.

  • Jeri

    Amend that next to the last paragraph:
    I don’t think this lady is a codependent; she just doesn’t know and haven’t been creative enough to think of what to do with all her blessings, that’s all.

  • SK

    This particular issue strikes a sore spot for me. Having been on both
    sides, the subject matter is a little painful. When someone is truly
    trying “be good” when totally dependent on “Martyrs” is not an easy
    thing to do. Sometimes it feels as though you are asking too much when
    trying to get your basic needs met. This leads to guilt, remorse, and
    self-pity. People judge others by their appearance saying things like
    “take a shower”, or “get a job”. How do you shower when you have no
    where to do it? Who hires “smelly” people? This can lead to resentment,
    anger, and mental health issues for the people who are distressed.
    However, it is very difficult to tell whether someone is being honest
    or just working a con. It takes time to spot a scam artist.

  • Sheila McMullin

    If you help someone, it is to help. There is no reason to try to figure out the reasons, etc. If we give money to someone, there is no reason to expect anything back. Our reward is in the giving, so if you suspect that the asker is going to use the donation other than what they said, don’t give. If someone is distressed, I feel, just help them however you can.



  • Ira Michael

    Interesting story, there was maybe few times in life I can relate to
    “Lady Codependant” and there are a alot scams on line that use people’s
    sinpathy as a WAY take their money, I also been a simular predicument
    where I was unenployed and having little or no money to support myself
    not too long ago. The Godsent was I was not alone and I had good people
    to take of me. But now those same 2 people took ALL my money that came
    from selling my mom’s old estate in New Jersey and are somewhere in the
    Folrida Pan Handle. But if not for my strong faith in God I would pretty much be hopeless!
    And I am perticulary carefull as to who I give charity to stragers. And
    do beleive that God helped me in times of need and he answered my prayers. If you give money out, don’t forget God’s share of your Money.

  • Julian

    This story is good an example,for others to follow;we are the greatest when we serve,with Christ in thought!

  • Sandy

    In response to Kathie’s question…These two people may be codependent. I guess it’s all in the way one looks at it. The lady and I both had a lot in common. We both have dogs and she was once in the same type of situation I was in and wished she had someone that would of helped her. The Landlord happened to be a friend of this lady and was actually doing her the favor more than for me. I chose to see this as a blessing from God. Kind of like “Do unto others.”
    My actions (even though I started to believe were wrong) eventually caused me to become stronger and more understanding. I learned a lot and am grateful. I am able to help others in a more “healthier way” by using the resources that have been made available by other means instead of placing their entire problem on my shoulders. I still have a long way to go, but I am a lot wiser than I was a year ago.
    There have been so many people who have halped me in the past and whnever I would ask what I could do in return, most said to “Help the next person who’s in need (Like passing it forward or having things come to a complete circle). I guess in looking back on this now, I can see where a person can go to the extreme in trying to “pay back” a favor as a sign of gratefullness.

  • Kay

    1at of all Co-dependency is to prioritize other people’s needs above your own except in the case of those who cannot meet their own such as a baby. Even then, when you are on an airplane then you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first so that you can then attend to a baby’s need for safety. Giving generously to others is NEVER a mistake when you are giving out of your own generosity, when you are giving responsibly. I see coldhearted “Christians” latch onto words like co-pendency as a tool to rationalize their own lack of heart in dealing with others every day. It is repugnant to someone who knows the intent and definition of co-dependency. Giving out of love of course is the best motivation to give, not guilt or shame…
    2nd. Not all homeless people are people suffering from substance abuse. Many are families or people who are suffering from mental illnesses. We see people on the street who have mental illnesses because, just like we do not want to be compassionate and give them money from our own pockets; we dumped them out of care some 40 years ago. They use to live in places where they were receiving care….of course we paid for this with our tax dollars….so this was our motivation for dumping those suffering from Mental Illness.
    3rd. Making fun of people because they want to do the right thing? In my field, I meet plenty of people who do not CARE if they are doing the right thing. I am not speaking of just the people who are our clients; I am also speaking of the educated, the religious and the people in power.
    4th. I would rather see the world full of people who’s hearts are too big and making errors in judgment with their KINDNESS and LOVE then those who feel nothing, criticize and judge, use sarcasm as if it is an intelligent communication tool, and walking on by when someone is in need. The fruits of the spirit are not: critical attitudes, self-righteousness, condemnation, judgment, cruelty, cold heartedness, and hatred.
    5th. If you would like to do something about people experiencing homelessness or who SUFFER from substance abuse addiction, please, write your senator and representatives for public funds to address the issues. Most states are barely funded to meet the needs of less than 30% of those in need of these services. Let your tax dollars go for something that will help others rather than hurt them.
    P.S. I have no regrets for the meals that I give out to others….my grandfather recovered from his alcoholism and he felt compassion and feed those in need as well. This is the same grandfather who taught me Jesus loved me just as much as he loved others. He knew he might be providing that person their last meal. Even murderers are granted this in prison.

  • Jeff Linderman

    Too long…we got the point immediately and could have ended about 1/2 the way through. However, hilarious and oh so true! I saw a lot of myself in Lady Co-dependent (many years ago.) Now, I strive to be gracious and helpful, but not quite as gullible. I still believe it’s better to err on the side of generosity, even when not really “deserved.” But, there are limits that each of us must learn, with God’s guidance. JJL

  • Sharon

    With regards to the story of being codependent, I can truly relate to this story. I too have always given and done for others less fortunate than I, because I always felt that’s what God would want me to do. Unfortunately, I think people pick up on the fact you are kindhearated and use it for their own means. I often ask myself when is it enough? I am a nurse and have the compassion to give of myself, but I sometimes feel used. Then I think again about the Christian thing to do, and I give my help selfishly. The story had good points, that maybe giving out coupons to people in need or buying them a sandwich and a drink. It is a tough call, because if you want God to bless how far does the Good Samaritan have to go to get recognized.

  • Bobbi

    Codependency has nothing to do with giving money.

  • pamylla

    Oh, please!! There ARE people out there who are codependent, definitely. But let’s not let every act of kindness or charity as CODEPENDENT, for God’s sake!!!
    What kind of world are we living in where we have to second-guess a woman who claims to have had a miscarriage? Surely not every person asking for a little money is a drug addict?!
    I think this story sends the wrong message to people regarding codependency.

  • Linda M Bemis

    I’ve seen a man with a sign stating work for food. There are many more without a home. Living becomes more difficult and most of them are lured into thinking drugs and alcohol is a easy way out of their misery. We can’t afford to be healthy. Jobs are gone with the housing cost rising with new owners to rent apartments. The situation is worse than most realize even when you don’t see the problem.

  • Shakisha

    Reading the message really made me think about my own life and I was overwelmed to be able to respond to this message. Well, I remember it was the day before Christmas Eve and I didn’t have any money to buy my children anything for Christmas, I didn’t want to tell my family and my friend called and asked me did I know someone that needed to be sponsored for Christmas because she had a friend that wanted to help a family I said Yes,me and she chuckled and said No, I’m serious I said I am too. So she took me to the man and he gave me $300 dollars. I thanked him and while I was shopping a lady was in the aisle crying and I asked her why was she crying she said she wanted to see her children and everyone is all excited about Christmas but all she wanted was God to help her get to see her children. Her children we’re with her mom and they were 4hrs away, she didn’t get paid and she needed gas and food, I gave her my # and asked her to call me she did, I told her where I lived and asked her to meet me at the mail boxes you wouldn’t believe she stayed in the same apartments. Now I prayed and I asked God to help me be a blessing to her and what she do with it that’s on her. Well, the day after Christmas I got a knock at the door by the young lady and her four children thanking me once again.
    I’ve also met a man that asked me for food, I bought him some chicken and gave it to him he told me he didn’t want the chicken threw it away in my face but I will not let the situation with the man hender my Blessings or hender me from being a blessing to others. I have open my doors to strangers, I have fed the hungry and I didn’t do it for any other reason but out the kindness of my heart and I know that’s why God allow it to boomerang right back to me so to all be a blessing and be willig to give more than you can receive because God will show up and show out on your behalf everytime. Ms. Shakisha

  • Magdi

    In my country they say:- Love others in the same way you love your self .. So why not if I like, accept,satisfy and forgive myself,why not giving others? if I miss the thing, I can’t give it to others..
    So when God gives me alot of things why not giving some to others?It makes me comfortable and spritual ,it is not kind of codependency.
    But for young people I prefere to give them a net instead of a fish

  • julie

    Did I mention that kids become spoiled and grow up expecting the world to take care of their needs; thinking that they do not have to work for anything in the “real world?”

  • Erma

    I once helped a friend who could not attend her small business of selling hot dogs at a street corner….quite an experience to become street smart.
    I discovered all these people who were begging for money were alcholics, drug addicts….but above all they were all recieveing $800.00 checks from the government and living in the mission, where they can get free food, lodging, and showers…plus a place where they are given free clothes.
    They were drinking and buying drugs with all the monies they would get. I saw them slump over, pass out, bleed, have psychotic episodes, anger, or just plain laugh at people for giving them money and running off to buy more beer, vodka or whatever.
    This justified my thinking of not to give them any money or food…as they get fed at the mission and they have enough money to eat and live in hotels…they get special rates…a whole month for practically nothing. We are paying these rates of living through our taxes. And they are taking advantage of them.
    The sorry thing is when a real person who has been honestly striving to earn a living, and live properly loses their job, and apartment or house and become indigent and they don’t know how to get ahold of these monies or how to qualify for them.
    I have been an interpreter and have actually helped foriegners, seen how they pass along this information to them by our government and otheres who have experienced it and rich people who just lost their monies to get on these programs.
    Here is the sad part. The people who really are the true Good Samaritan gets “No good act goes unpunished”. They are ridiculed, ousted, etc. whether it is an act of jealousy, envy, fear from people who are empowered.
    Where do they go.

  • CLeo

    Please! Don’t confuse with being CODEPENDENT.
    A Codependent person is a control freak in disguise. He/She helps others on the surface while attempting to control their lives. A Codependent person is often used by others, but they harbor a great resent in return.
    The codependent neglects her home while cleaning a neighbor’s, but in doing so places the person she so overtly helps, in her debt. Later on they take a more obvious role in your life and begin to meddle into your life and using ways to control your behavior their way.
    Saps are different, Saps can’t say no but they don’t want or expect something in return. They don’t play VICTIM and throw in your face all the GOOD things they did for you.
    Beware of the real codependents, because you’ll fall into their manipulative hands and won’t realize it until some damage has been done.

  • sandra


  • Carla

    I hate to admit it but I saw myself in that article. After reading it and thinking about it, I see how easy it is to be codependent. I was brought up to help others who were less fortunate than myself,but, there has to be a limit to how much help one person can or should give. I think the real question that needs answered here is how does one set limits, stick to them, and not feel bad about doing it?

  • Terri M.

    Thanks for spelling that out Yames…nobody seems to get what codependency is. I had a hard time once saying no to someone who called for a charity on the phone, so I pledged and left the money in the mailbox for the firemen’s fund and got tickets to a local hockey game in return. I also got my name sold to a hundred other charities that began calling for money. I had to finally not listen, interrupt the speaker and firmly tell them to remove my name from their lists…after two years of being codependently polite and apologizing at the end of a long spiel. Acts of kindness have to come from the heart, do not have to involve money, and do not have to be more than you are willing or able to give. Jesus said if you give a cup of water to a little child you are giving to Him, so don’t be pressured into anything, God knows what’s in your heart and where you truly should be helping, look to him for guidance in where and how to serve him and the human race best.

  • lady of light

    Two things have helped me in the area of giving as discussed here:
    Joel Osteen, a favorite TV preacher recently gave a sermon which was based on the principle “Do the right thing and leave the consequences to God”. Dr. Charles Stanley has also alluded to this principle in one of recent sermons. When we go to the bible, 2 Corinthians 7-8 we find the attitude that God wants us to have toward giving:”Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give: not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” I just pray that God will guide me in my way and don’t worry about the rest of it. I too had experiences where I didn’t know if the “story” the person was telling was true etc. ect. but it doesn’t really matter because God can touch someone’s heart for Him through my kindness. I am no longer plagued with guilt and doubt about giving or sharing.

  • lady of light

    I agree with you , Tom, that God will guide us and that He knows what is in our hearts. He can use any act of giving or kindness to touch another person’s heart. I don;t worry about whether the person is sincere or telling the truth when they are begging – if I feel it in my heart to give, I give something.

  • Cyndi

    If I had a million $. I would give every cent, to a homeless drunk/druggie…..In encourgement that He/She would be able to change for the better. Everyone needs hope and Prayer. After all I will always find a way to survive for Myself and My Children.Money is after all the root of all evil. Help someone in need today (w/ Prayer and Blessing”) No one should judge…..We do not know what or to the extent this person has suffered….Loss of a child….loss of hope…The stories are endless…I have lost a friend due to lack of understanding that few have been through….MONTY, WE are with You. Never judge…never allow yourself to be be judged. Demand respect,Give respect. (in the finest extreme).Respect all. If you only knew their whole story your HEART would break. Sure I have given to “the junkie” along with a # to call for help….Do I know if it was ever was called??? NO…. yet,I tried and GOD will prevail.In HIS time not in ours. I have yet for this to come back around, yet,I know in due time it will,GOD BLESS…..

  • lillian polley

    i do help such people as this parable states, in reason is because there are people all over the world that has fallen into bad times and you can,t really tell which ones are real and the choice is yours as to what you do with yur money, and then who are we to pass judgement on waht others do, all we can do is live with the decisions that we ourselves make, and in doing so hope that we are helping someone less fortuned then ourselves, some elder people live in homes where they have not enough to eat ot the small things needed to provide for themselves, but will not ask for fear of what people will say ot think in the meantime they harm themselves, the world has a habit of judging and not knowing all the facts, or giving to be praised for the effort, instead of giving from the heart and soul, the bible says judge ye not he within sin let him be the first one to cast a stone, love thy neighor as thyself, with the way the world is today with high prices , and low wages, everyone almost is struggling, and that,s life

  • Karen

    I like this one. I lived for almost 40 years in NYC and have given my fair share of spare change to beggars. One day I gave to a woman on crutches with a real sad luck story. I gave to her every time I saw her for about a year I guess. One night I was out on the upper west side of Manhattan for a night with friends. I see this lady, no crutches and dressed if not nicely not in her begging clothes. Boy, did I ever feel duped. I did not stop giving because there are really people in NYC who fall through the cracks. I figured I didn’t need the $1 I gave away, and honestly, I feel if a drug addict is begging, well maybe they need the $1 more than I do. Access to drug treatment is very hard to get if you have no insurance. I had a hard time getting treatment for my depression because I had neither the cash nor the insurance. Here in New Mexico, a very poor state, I have gotten the help I need.

  • Gabrielle

    Casting pearls before swine….
    I have not lived under a rock so I have seen my share of beggars. I have been a medic in the streets of Chicago and have learned the fine art of giving and not giving. I have also been homeless and never begged on the streets. Once you decide to give ANYTHING away, be it money or food or toys and clothes to anyone-friend, family or beggar in the streets, let it go or don’t give at all – not everyone will share your taste in food or have the same priorities as you. Common sense is a HUGE factor here. I know of veterans who have been dealt some horrible cards in life and after serving our country and risking life and limbs, there is little left in the hearts of men to give to those who have given so much and have NOTHING to call their own! But because they have seen and done things that would make the devil cringe in order to survive and protect those of us who don’t have the stomach for this, these veterans drink or turn to drugs to stop the pain inside themselves. If you want to give, try starting somewhere where you can actually make a difference-like the VA hospitals or childrens shelters. But where ever you decide to give-remember…it’s a gift to be given with an ounce of COMMON SENSE!!!

  • greeneyez

    i think the codependency lady has a heart just like me i had my share of beggers in my life also either for money cigarettes and so on but people helping other people god does look at that but people need to be careful most of them are either alcoholics,drug addicts or maybe lookin for someone to rape cause they have a sexual addiction so for all the people who helps others should be very cautious of them. just a little FYI.

  • cynthia

    one day this guy came up too me asked for a cigerette i has my 3 year old daughter with me i was scared he then asked if i had any spare change to give i told him no he kept following me and my daughter i picked up my daughter and held cause she was scared i was trying not to act like i was scared the more i told him no the madder he got so i through 20.00 to him and told him too leave us alone i was down the street from my guys house and i saw him he came to us and asked what was wrong i told him everything he went up too the guy and asked him nicely to give the money back i said i didnt want it that he can have it then my guy said for the man to leave and never come around again until this day my daughter is scared of any man that looks homeless cause she thinks hes going to beg us for money so she scared to where she never wants to go anywhere unless our friend is with us now that is really sad.

  • Dee

    Boy this story made me laugh! I live in St paul, mn and I’m always getting hit up for money. I know what it is like to need some help so I don’t mind helping others, but I’ve learned how to tell who needs it and who is just scamming. However, I try my best not to do that because it puts me up as God, making decisions on who deserves help and who doesn’t. I just try to go by what the Word says.. don’t get weary of doing good to others, especially the body of Believers! Besides, God doesn’t like it when folks lie and cheat so if folks like that are doing me wrong, God will take care of them. I just need to try my best to keep being loving and peaceful with everyone! I don’t always get it right but I try!
    Grace and peace

  • Ms E

    I take twenty $1 dollar bills and place them singulary in my pockets.
    I do not walk in metro areas with a purse but I try to have on cargo pants or skirt and I give each persn who asks, or when led by the Spirit of God those that do not, $1.
    I have lived across the country and I know that people who ask for help ask many people during any given period.
    I can not afford to give away a lot because I am a victm of Hurricane Katrina, yet, I understand what it is like to be homeless and striken with fear and anxiety by any disaster in a person’s life.
    I am Christian and a pastor and I trust God as I pray silently for each person I meet this way that God will send others who can do a little or maybe a lot for this person.
    I am not fooled by drugs and alcohol, but this does not inhibit me from helping others.
    However, when the same person keeps popping up I will tell them about where they can find shelter and food.
    I share what I have and leave the blessing to God for the increase.

  • Anonymous

    I work my butt off for the little money I make and I will be darned if I will give it to just anyone who asks. Sometimes I can see that someone who is standing out on the road asking for money is weathered – and I give them a bit of money just for having the guts to stand out there and hold a sign. Not out of guilt, not out of obligation, but because they are doing just that.
    I have been down on my luck several times – college degree and experience and no jobs to pay the bills – not enough desperation to go out on the boulevard and beg, but still very scary times – and a depression that numbs the fear so that I am despondent in bed.
    I just thank God I have a pretty enough body to be a bikini dancer so I can pay my bills.

  • lAURIE

    It is not wrong to help others. I beleive it is healthy and a reminder of God’s goodness to us. All of us, unless we are born rich, are just a pay check, few months savings or a crash in the stock market away from being in the same predicament. The scripture indicates that God is please by our acts of kindness towards those less fortunate than we are. JEsus said that if we help the widows, imprisoned, sick we have done it unto Him, I believe it even includes poor beggars. Because Jesus told one Rich young ruler to go and sell all he had and give to the poor. Does the desire to obey the scripture make us codependent? The only thing we can do is ask God for wisdom and depend upon the leading of the Holy Spirit as to when to give and to whom to give and to remember we can not help everyone or solve everyone’s problems. Give what you can, when you can. Walk away when you don’t feel lead and when you don’t have it to give. And for the ones you miss, pray that God will send someone else their way. None of us want to be victimized by scams or criminals but none of us want to be guilty of being like the rich man was toward Lazarus.

  • janet t

    Personally I think there are so many ways in which to help someone, but if you are burned once then don’t do the same exact thing with the same exact person again….God gave us the ability and the smarts to learn from our mistakes. I say if it failed the first time, then use your head and think of another way to help which will actually HELP the person instead of letting yourself be used and abused…..

  • daylight 365

    I give what I can which is not as much as I like. It hurts to not be able to spare some change. I say a prayer instead.

  • Pat A

    A priest once told me (when I had many questions, having recently returned to Catholicism), that it was not a sin to pass people on the street asking for money. He said it was preferable to give through organized charities.
    On the other hand, one rehabilitative shelter I volunteered in required that a person be sober and drug-free for a certain amount of time before entering its program to get homeless people back on their feet. And an article in a Catholic magazine advises that, if you give help to a street person, it might be the one thing that restores his faith in God and humanity.
    Another priest counseled that to give money to a street person would probably encourage his/her addiction. I usually just say a prayer for the person as I pass him.

  • Debbie

    I too want to be a Good Samaritan and help others in their time of need but there comes a time when you have to draw the line and not contribute to an existing problem–alcohol & drug abuse! I have noticed that on a few occasions when I did give a buck or two for “bus fare” or “gas” out of compassion, I saw the guy or gal wait until they thought I was out of sight then make a mad dash into the convenience story for a can of beer or a bottle of cheap wine–all with a higher alcohol content.
    So the question is: Am I a “Good Samaritan” or “Enabler?” and I would say without a doubt an “Enabler!” As a police officer, who patrolled the city streets for many years, I have found that most homeless people were alcoholics and drug addicts. Some had mental disorders and were supposed to be taking anti-psychotic drugs. Alcohol and psychosis does not mix very well. And if they are taking their medications, alcohol and illegal drugs will cause severe side effects which include delusions, hallucinations, agitation and violent behavior. These folks become very aggressive, confrontational and combative with others around them. Many police officers, who have to respond to calls of disturbances, have been assaulted by these individuals. And few police officers have been killed! So my advice is to not, not give them money. You are only contributing to their addiction and creating the foundation for a disturbance which may cause an injury to a person who refuses to give at their demands or a police officer who has to take the person into custody for the public’s safety!
    The second question I pose to you: Would you give a drowning man a glass of water? Of course not! So don’t give an alcoholic or a drug user money! I tell them, “No, I will not give you money to support your addiction but I will buy you a sandwich and a soda.” Some will continue to lie about why they need the money and they will give you a good story but please resist in giving cash. Some will say, “Ok” and I will buy them whatever sandwich they wanted at the store, at Carls Jr or at the gas station. Now I carry $6 burger cards from Carls Jr and I give them one of those instead. Be careful with grocery gift certificates because they can go into the store and buy a whole bottle of hard liquor or a six pack. Then you are really creating a problem! So I ask you, give wisely and prudently! Do not be an “Enabler” to their addictions and assist in causing a disturbance for officers to respond to a short time later! My career painfully ended when I had to fight a homeless person high on illegal drugs and I have been in constant pain for many years. Yes, it is good to give but give wisely! And NO, these people don’t “need a beer.” Please do the right thing!

  • BellaTerra

    Each payperiod/payday take a percentage of your paycheck (1-10%?), go to the bank and get it in $1 and change, divide it into 30/31 days, and then each morning put that amount of money into your purse/wallet. When you meet someone who asks for some money, give them $.50 — $1.00. (When the daily allotted money is gone, it’s gone. No guilt.) Don’t judge whether or not the person is worthy of your money, and don’t think about how good — or stingy — you are. And let it go. Makes life A LOT simpler. I learned this a long time ago from my Jewish friend.
    Volunteer at least 4 hours at some organization/agency/group that helps make the world a better place. (Mothers with children exempted — especially working mothers — except you might try to do it at your childrens’ schools.)
    Those of us who knit — knit winter scarves for the homeless. Use acrylic yarn. It’s warm and washable.
    We spend too much time worrying about what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. Just do it.

  • mgesh

    I agree with BellaTerra. Just do it – or DON’T do it. But let go of the guilt. There’s always another person coming along. That bum won’t live or die based on your “donation”. There are also many social services that these people can avail themselves of. If they have to be clean and sober to do it, then all the better – there’s an incentive!
    I have learned (rather late in life) that guilt is nonproductive and a waste of time. You do what you think is right at the time, and move on. Replaying it in your head will drive you crazy. People make snap judgments all the time. If you judge, in that few seconds, whether that person is worthy of your money (or time) then give it. Most likely, your first impulse is the correct one, anyway. If you have a good story, you get rewarded for it, otherwise, work a little harder. Isn’t that the way it works for all of us, even the employed ones? If you are late to work and you have a good story, you are excused. If you don’t, then you are in trouble.
    I hope I don’t sound hard-hearted, I’m not really, but I have been too soft-hearted in the past, and now I get on every “sucker list” there is. I have to start drawing the line. And I draw it at 0. I have a few charities that I have researched and feel are worthwile, otherwise “NO” is my standard answer. If I start with one, then they will all be lining up at my door.
    Bottom line, don’t feel guilty. Life’s too short.

  • Duncan

    I always give some change to everyone who asks. usually at a stop light at a gas station. I don’t brag about it. and usually don’t discuss it with anyone. I always think what if this person is jesus or an angel. I don’t judge and in my giving I give freely and go on. what they do with the money is their business It was my giving that makes me feel good. I know what you put out returns. I don’t feel guilty if I can’t give someone and don’t feel responsible for those that receive. I feel it good to help someoone when I can. It is entertaining hearing all the other readers reasons for giving or not. I don’t judge them either. Sometimes I think giving is not always the money or amount, but having the person know that someone noticed them. A smile and a god bless you or saying good thing will soon happen for you, may inspire them to know that someone cares. You never know when a small good deed may be a big something to someone else.

  • Natalie Fitzgerald

    You know it is really sad to see homeless people without the basic needs..and I do help whenever I have extra change..but I have 4 kids and I cannot always give what I do not I donate clothes to many different organization that give to the less fortunate..In the city there’s alot of drug addicts…and sorry! I’m not gonna support their habit!

  • Brenda

    I work at a homeless shelter/residential program, in Scranton, PA. you would be shocked and surprised at the nember of soup kitchens, clothing and food distributors that are in the area… the soup kitchen in our town is open 7 days a week for lunch, (FREE) 4 days for dinner-this is not a soup and sandwich lunch this is a cooked meal-meat veggie, starch, desert beverage…then there are drop in centers where during the day they get D&A treatment, Mental health counseling, and MOST IMPORTANT-DAY LABOR- this is where they can work for pay, and get paid the same day…at the drop in centers they have breakfast, and lunches available- they are open until 730pm at which time the night shelter opens where they can come in IF THEY DO NOT BLOW NUMBERS ON THE BREATHAlIZER!!!! At the shelter they get again a HOT Meal, a shower, a bed to sleep in, they get breakfast in the morning too, and if they can provide proof that they are duly employed they can take a bag lunch consisting of 2 sandwiches, a snack, and chips, and drink. they also get their laundry done for free 3 nights a week, and if they can show they have a job interview they will wash their clothes, so that they are presentable. If they put money into a savings-they will 1 save them a bed (normally it is first come first served) and then match what they have saved to use as a deposit made out to the prospective landlord only-so they can hve an apartment…there are places that also hand out FREE clothes, both everyday and DRESS Clothes for job interviews and employment. There are also places that provide vouchers for new shoes at payless, free eyeglasses, and exams through lenscrafters, the Blind Associations,etc. FREE dentures through Primary dental, FREE healthcare, through Primary Health, FREE medication if they sign up for the Govt’prescription program, as well as welfare etc. There is never a reason to give anyone on the street money, food, etc. donate the food to the shelters and soup kitchens, donate monies to the charities that fund these programs in your area. there are so many things…the unfortunate thing is when you give them money, they will use it to buy a qt. of beer (1.25 at any convenient), an hour of panhandling will get you a 10.00 bag of heroin, 10 minutes a 5.00 rock of crack…PLEASE if you feel you must do something go throguht an agency…womens shelters, unwed mother shelters-soup kitchens…spend an hour teaching someone to read so they can fill out a job application…that is what needs to be done…take it from someone who has worked with the homeless 10 years…

  • BellaTerra

    I don’t care how the homeless use the money I give them. In fact, I have bought homeless people alcohol, because at the time that’s what they needed and wanted (I am not their moral policeman), and alcohol helped to keep them warm (in Boston’s winters).
    We all have our own addictions. For most of us, our addictions are just the more socially acceptable kinds of addictions.
    And I’m not stupid — I’ve been working with and for the homeless for almost 20 years.
    Give the money or don’t give it. (A mother with four children is often not in a position to be giving away money — that’s a no-brainer.) But don’t judge the people on the streets — you may be there someday. Not all of them are addicts or bums or mentally ill (and so what if they are? I don’t remember Jesus saying anything about helping only those who are worthy — in fact, I think he spent his whole life helping those who were not worthy — people like us). A good portion of them simply lost their jobs and consequently lost their homes/apts., and then lost their spouses and children — one of these days it could very well be one of us on the streets. And it’s an entirely different way of seeing things when we’re on the streets and others are looking at us going, “Hmm, I wonder if he/she is worthy of my money. Hmmm, I am not going to feed their addiction.” And you’re going, “Hey, I’m not like that” — and no one will listen to you.
    A year and a half ago I ate at a soup kitchen for a week or so because I had no choice. Believe me, I see the homeless in an entirely different way than most of you.

  • Mike

    The author of this fable has hit on what I think is one of the central issues in Judaism. I think the woman did what was right: she seeks to live by the Law of God. I see nothing wrong with her choices. I believe Jesus would have called her blessed. I think to call her codependent is a sign of how truly sick our world has become, including some who work in the health care profession who use these labels to justify their own immorality (i.e.,selfishness).
    The good Samaritan did what was right. This has nothing to do with feelings of guilt;it has to do with loving God and God’s creation.


    I always try to help, but not to be taken fro granted. I gave away my clothes amd my daughter to charity, give money to united way every month, so I know it’s not going to drugs, if I stop on the street to helpan homeless person.

  • Valerie

    To “Lady Codependency” From the Queen of Codependency,
    I loved this! It is so true too.
    I enjoy your viewpoints so very much.
    I remember moving to a metro area and seeing a woman on an overpass on the freeway in the winter, and she had no coat and was trying to sleep on the cement and how my heart went out to her. I wanted to give her my coat, and just take care of her, but was prevented by those I was riding with. I had to pray for her as I still do.
    I work in a crisis area, I am a subtance abuse counselor which has caused me to readjust my crown most days to taking it off some.
    As I write one of the staff wants to use my phone, in private, which would mean me leaving my office- it doesn’t get better some days, does it?
    Anyway I Do enjoy your writing-keep it up. You are an AMAZING WOMAN!


    I, too, struggle with the codependent’s choices. Jesus did say (also) that the poor will be with us always. Wasn’t it Judas who admonished the woman for usiing the precious oil to anoint the feet and head of Christ? “should be given to the poor”.
    I have to choose my charities. Otherwise I find I have not learned from the basic lessons of Communism. In theory if we all share ALL we have than everyone will have plenty. Didn’t happen. The fact is that when we give ALL usually most wind up without enough to meet our own needs and a few wind up with abundance that they don’t share with the masses. God does require us to share, but I don’t want to insult him by throwing away all the blessings he provides for me. I choose my charities, pray hard and sometimes rely on my more realistic friends to guide me. I also pay my bills, keep my insurance, go to work, behave responsibly and try to provide for emergencies. Can’t say I won’t be that streetlady, but I am making every real effort not to burden my family or society thru practical realistic choices that I am making today. There is usually a tomorrow. It’s not guaranteed but my choices today can affect it if it does come.

  • Rabbinit

    This is an example of a modern person taking a Biblical text (in this case from the Christian Scripture -the New Testament) and trying to put a “modern” spin on it while TOTALLY misinterpreting the original text’s purpose. If you (the author) would like to construct a modern parable or teaching story, fine, do so. That is a great idea, as it helps people to see where, in their own life they can make changes. But PLEASE do not take teaching parables and perciopes from ancient texts and twist them to suit your needs and desires – that is insensitive and ignorant on your part. It is also offensive for those individuals who follow the faith-path which these Scriptures explain and illustrate. The ORIGINAL meaning of this text was to show that one should have compassion (NOWHERE in Jesus’ parable is the action of the man shown to be anything remotely like Co-dependency!) for their fellow man – even if the individual was one that society shunned. The story also pointed out the hypocracy of those who were appointed by society to help the poor, weak, defenceless, and oppressed but did not because it didn’t win them accolades with the “popular people”.
    Like many people in the modern world, your ignorance of the Scriptures and your attmept to discredit believers who follow them is more of a dis-service than a service. I fear your reading co-dependency into a parable where it does not exist because you are co-dependent.
    Maybe the real test of “are you a co-dependent?” is if you see it in religious texts and ancient documents, then you are. It’s called PROJECTING.

  • Faith F. Pitts

    The issue of codependency is purely and simply personal. If a person feels uncomfortable giving in any given moment then they should not give. The motivation behind the giving is selfish…Giving to stay out of the “hell” of guilt and shame is not giving at all. It spiritually harms the giver and the receiver. The giver is resentful about giving and it causes them stress and the receiver may feel some guilt and shame from the giving. If not guilt and shame then a continuing to believe that manipulation is the best way to get anything, sanctioning the predisposition that “no one really has any empathy and nobody really cares so you gotta get yours the best way you can….especially when yoy have fallen victim to the social ills of society. Society, generally continues to not trust. America is a society of suspicious people. We take many precautions and create many laws to protect our things yet crime continues to exist, drug use is on the rise spreading viciously through our middle-class and upper-class homes. So exactly what is it that needs to change? I would say, “Whatever is at the root of our belief system. The problem is not the beggar its the giver. Mad because they feel taken advantage of when they judge the person they are giving to! If you must judge their need Don’t Give! If someone walked up and told you they were going to buy drugs, would you give them a few dollars….you are not going to do it…so they say what they have to say to get what they think they need! Who among us has not committed that crime….? People get caught in vicious cycles of insanity….all people….each of us needs to ask ourselves what is that thing that we do…that doesnt make sense to anybody but ourselves?
    Empathy breeds love and a demonstration of love is what the Good Samaritan displayed when he helped the fallen Levite..he didnt judge he just helped..and treated the man like the child of God that he was. It is a way of life to strive for..we will never become perfect at behaving with love when we encounter our fellow-woman and our fellow-man but we can strive to think more like Jesus in our everyday affairs.

  • Nora Roseberry

    My mother occasionally invites a smelly man who lives down her street to our most sacred family dinners — Thanksgiving and Christmas. She never gives us warning as to whether he will be there, and we never have a chance to discuss him. She only lets us know after we are already at her house. I am a Christian and believe in charity, when I’m allowed to do it voluntarily. The Bible says I am supposed to give heartily and cheerfully, and not under compulsion! Because of my mother I am being forced to sit there and watch our boundaries as a family group get violated.

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