By: Steve Trubilla
I believe the nature of most good people in our country is to look for the good in others. They want to believe people are well intended.
The concept of contrived and deliberate deceit runs contrary to what their parents, grandparents, and clergy have imparted on them.
We want to believe what we are told when someone asks for help, and also give aide to the less fortune.
Nationally this is genetic; it is in America’s DNA.
There is just something about the man, woman, or family that struggles against great odds that invites most Americans to pull for them.
When they win, a little part of each of us wins. Who out there has not enjoyed the story of someone beating cancer, hearing of the person that has stumbled in life and found their way, or felt joy when the poor man wins justice against a wealthy opportunist?
Think back to some of the things those that loved you as a child would often say. I remember my mother saying, “Son, look for the good in people, and you will find it.”
Then there is the memory of, “Always remember there are those that have less than we do.” At the time it was hard to grasp this, as materially I did not see how that was possible.
Now, of course, I realize having material things means very little. We actually had more than we needed.
Are we wrong to want to believe in, or help others? I offer the answer to this is no. There are certain, what I will call natural, laws that cannot be broken. You will only break yourself against them if you try. Empathy is one of them.
Celebrating a person’s misfortune, and or trying to gain advantage when another is in the throes of despair are wrong. Helping and giving comfort if you can is simply the right thing to do.
The test of this in terms of how we would like to be treated is the Golden Rule.
Some reading this will see it as nothing more than pure naiveté, and by design a blueprint for others to take advantage.
It is true there are those that conduct their lives with pure self-interest, greed, and manipulation. Their view is there is a sucker born every minute.
It would be lofty of me to say I feel sorry for these people, but I do not. I find them despicable. There was a time I tried to measure to this standard of forgiving them. Experience has taken its toll.
I too often have seen these people destroy their lives, or certainly attempt to, by feeding off those that held nothing more than a sincere desire to help them.
I know of a woman that so trusted a man she loaned him her life savings to help him with his business. The man told her he was about to lose everything he had, and would find himself homeless.
Over a period of time, the man would borrow smaller sums from her, and would always pay her back.
He gave great assurance that if she would loan him a much larger sum he would repay her. He was willing to, and even signed papers to put her mind at ease.
Well, you know how this story ends, she lost everything.
She availed herself of the courts. Hired and paid lawyers as she suffered years of hearings and delays. It was proven to be contrived, but not criminal.
I offer it was criminal. The man from the outset knew exactly what he was doing. It was shown he had done it to others.
So, was the woman wrong or a fool to help the man? Hind sight is always 20/20. Do we really want to live in a world without compassion for others? A place that is a dog-eat-dog world, where the innocent and good hearted exist to be fed upon.
We all know stories like this. When we hear them it is almost impossible to believe someone was so duped. Then in a moment of quiet reflection we say, well that could never happen to me.
If you believe that, then ask yourself why is it that we all know people this has happened to.
I myself listened to a sad story about how someone supposedly helped a dying little girl and her family. Only later, and to my regret, learned it was a story they had often repeated with success to others as well, to obtain money and other things.
The same question: ‘Was I wrong or a fool to have listened to them?’ Again hindsight is 20/20.
Are those that do these things happy? I don’t think so. When exposed, they are forced into the shadows. They cannot even escape the image they find in a mirror.
Rather than dwell in the injustice of it all, it is better to hold on to the values you have learned, and to pass them on to future generations.
Personally, tomorrow if I learn of someone I can help, if I can, I will.
I hope you do the same.
Of course I may be a bit more cautious.