Betty and I were both born at the end of World War II and we were raised by parents who grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. Our parents believed strongly in discipline and personal responsibility.
I’ve been thinking some about this and I believe there’s a hierarchy of responsibility when there is a need. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts and I apologize up front for the long post.
Personal Responsibility – When I have a need in my life, it most likely was created by my choices in response to my circumstances. I strongly believe that my personal responsibility to address my need is my number one priority. My initial thought is what can I do about this? What are my options and my personal resources.
Sometimes the need may be greater than my personal resources or abilities to address it. Then it may be appropriate to go to the next level.
Families – I think that families should be the second level of support. If Betty or one of our sons has a need greater than their ability to meet that need within their own personal responsibilities, then, as a family, we should be there to offer help and support.
If the need is greater than personal or family responsibilities, then the next level can be resourced.
Church – For us as Christians, our church family is the next level of support, but only after we have addressed what we can do as individuals and with our families.
If the need can’t be met by our church, then I would look for the next level of support.
Organizations – There are a lot of specialized organizations such as AA, support groups, hospital programs, the VA for veterans, etc., that have resources and support that can possibly help.
The final level is the one that I think is the least efficient, the most costly and, in many cases, the least helpful.
Government – I believe God establishes government to help those who truly cannot help themselves and do not have family and other organizations available to them. The Bible generally refers to people like this as widows and orphans. As a citizen, I am happy for my tax dollars to help those who truly cannot help themselves. To me, the government is the resource of last resort.
No matter what level I may find myself in, I have the additional support of knowing that God, through his Holy Spirit, is with me at all times.