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The Charitable Spirit - Kindness - Generosity - Charity (Perspectives)

njaj @ freedigitalphotos.net

njaj @ freedigitalphotos.net

perspectives-the-charitable-spirit-kindness-generosity-charity

Introduction

The idea behind this series called Perspectives is explained in a hub published by MickeySr:

  • Perspectives: An Introduction
    What we think and how we feel about things is defined, not by the things themselves, but by our perspective of things. Everything that comes before us is filtered through our perception of things...
perspectives-vanity-and-humility-the-bad-traits-of-humbleness

The Charity Spirit

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The backbone of a Charitable Spirit is ‘kindness’;

The rest of a Charitable Spirit is ‘generosity’.

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Let’s not forget that ‘kindness’ and ‘generosity’ are subordinates of LOVE.

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David Castillo Dominici @ freedigitalphotos.net

David Castillo Dominici @ freedigitalphotos.net

To justify above statement

Let’s consider the meanings of kindness, generosity and charity.

  • Kindness is the quality of being warmhearted, considerate, humane and sympathetic.
  • Generosity is the unselfish trait of being willing to give your money, goods or time to others.
  • Charity is a kindly and lenient attitude toward people and an activity that benefits the public at large.

A synonym for charity is Philanthropy: The voluntary promotion of human welfare.

I can see no true charitable spirit that does not comprise kindness and generosity.

The word ‘charity’

The word ‘charity’ originated in the Hebrew word, Tzedakah (S’daqah) meaning righteousness, justice or fairness. In biblical times Tzedakah was a religious obligation, and still regarded as such in religious communities. Kind and generous people, however, practice Tzedakah instinctively.

Two kinds of people depend on charity:

  1. Honest people with integrity in unfortunate circumstances;
  2. Dishonest, disreputable, lazy people acting as amateur and professional beggars.

Recognize the difference:

  1. Honest people with integrity in unfortunate circumstances feel uncomfortable and ashamed in their needy position. They are willing to work and pay for what they receive by performing tasks or doing favors or anything that might prove gratefulness for what they receive. They easily become the victims of shrewd entrepreneurs and abusers of people. They are not pathetic, but proud, law-abiding citizens of their countries. They will try to give the best impression possible, even while dressed in sackcloth, and they will grab any opportunity to get themselves in more fortunate circumstances.
  2. Dishonest, disreputable, lazy people acting as amateur and professional beggars are repelling, arousing aversion and disgust and a feeling of guilt. They are the shrewd exploiters of human kindness and generosity. They are not willing to work and fake gratefulness in order to manipulate others to their advantage. When forced to perform a task their performance will arouse disappointment and even anger. Trying to make a pathetic impression, they dig for empathy and sympathy in the souls of kind and generous people. They encourage and even force their own children to become beggars or victims of abusers.
David Castillo Dominici @ freedigitalphotos.net

David Castillo Dominici @ freedigitalphotos.net

Questions

  1. Is Charity supposed to help people out of their unfortunate circumstances, or to encourage them to stay in it?
  2. May we ignore the dishonest, disreputable, lazy people acting as amateur and professional beggars and only help the honest people with integrity in unfortunate circumstances?
  3. Are we practicing charity without any intention of kindness and generosity, but with a cold heart hoping to receive something we need such as respect and admiration, space for new, more modern stuff in our closets and homes, to get rid of feelings of guilt, or to prevent the poor from stealing our precious belongings?

To ponder....

Some of the beggars in South Africa - In some regions quite a nuisance, causing severe accidents. And still, people keep on feeding them, bereaving them of their natural hunting skills....

Begging Baboon

© Martie Coetser (credit to Bren Senekal)

© Martie Coetser (credit to Bren Senekal)

Introspection

I put myself so many times figuratively in the shoes of poor people. What would I do when my children and I are hungry and I have no money for food? Surely I would have only three options: Stealing, begging or ending our lives.

We know that the man who is not hungry is like a sated lion not interested in the potential food grazing in his territory. We know that nobody is as dangerous as the one who has nothing to lose.

perspectives-the-charitable-spirit-kindness-generosity-charity

Eight levels of giving to the poor

The rabbi-physician-philosopher, Mosheh ben Maimon (Moses Maimonides), who lived from 1135 to 1204 in Morocco and Egypt, taught eight levels of giving to the poor.

1. Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; forming a partnership with a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need; finding a job for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant, partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying upon others.

2. Giving tzedakah (charity) anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of tzedakah with your money in a most impeccable fashion.

3. Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known recipient.

4. Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown recipient.

5. Giving tzedakah before being asked.

6. Giving adequately after being asked.

7. Giving willingly, but inadequately.

8. Giving out of pity: It is thought that Maimonides was referring to giving because of the sad feelings one might have in seeing people in need (as opposed to giving because it is a religious obligation).

I recommend reading this interesting perceptive on charity at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maimonides)


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Perspectives on HubPages

© mickeysr.hubpages.com

© mickeysr.hubpages.com

Guest author for December on the Charitable Spirit: Sunnie Day -

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More Perspectives on the Charitable Spirit

More Perspectives on ~

Keattikorn @ freedigitalphotos.net

Keattikorn @ freedigitalphotos.net

The Day of Goodwill in South Africa is a public holiday on 26 December

Comments

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on March 18, 2013:

Thank you, midget! I agree wholeheartedly with you :) Thanks for the share...

Michelle Liew from Singapore on March 17, 2013:

Certainly a great take on charity, Martie. We have to be careful of giving our own hard earned money to people who actually have the means to earn it but do not want to. That is manipulation of our good intentions! Thanks for sharing, and I am passing it on.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on January 04, 2013:

Hi Victoria, good to see you in my corner. Thanks for the votes and more :)

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on January 03, 2013:

Martie, you raise some interesting questions in this beautiful hub. You give us lots to think about! Voted up and more!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 24, 2012:

My dearest Rosemay, thank you for your beautiful comment. I agree wholeheartedly with you. And that is why we should 'listen' to the silent cries of our fellowman. Merry Christmas to you and your beloveds. May 2013 meets all your expectations :)

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on December 23, 2012:

I always enjoy your hubs Martie. You have a unique and practical way of breaking the subject down and giving us food for thought and dessert too.

I remember a conversation we had on one of my hubs re 'beggars' and those who prey on the kindness of others and for that reason I would rather give to someone who suffers in silence than to those who beg loudly.

May I take this opportunity to wish you a joyous Christmas and all the best for 2013 my friend.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 22, 2012:

Hi Deborah, my lost and again found FB-friend :) I can certainly not afford giving charity (in whatever form) to everyone in need of charity. I often pass beggars, and often ignore requests for charity for the simple reason that I don't have anything to give. UNLESS I make it my mission to live in poverty while spending all my earnings on others. I don't live in luxury, although very poor people may not agree with me. But there is something else Christians should keep in mind: The human body (heart and soul) is a temple of God. Of course, taking good care of it should be our first priority. Our children are part of us. To make a long story short - most of us can hardly afford keeping ourselves and our children on 'temple-status', so at the end of the day the question we will have to answer: "And exactly what have you done to keep MY temple bearable for Me?"

Here is a very interesting article about "God helps those who help themselves" versus "God helps the helpless."

Thank you for your lovely comment, Deborah :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 22, 2012:

My dear friend, Alastar, your charming comments always warm my heart - and this, too - giving recognition - is often a matter of charity. So many of us may have enough money and food to eat, while dying emotionally due to a deficiency of recognition, love and all those emotional food we need. I remember a very hard time in my life living in an emotional desert, dying of hunger for recognition. There I've learned how to give compliments and recognition as far as I go. Maybe because that is what I've needed, and, of course, I still need it. I do believe in doing to others what I want them to do to me. I may not be able to give what everybody need, but throwing bread on the water means that I may catch myself some needed bread of a different kind.

As I've said in my hub - or have I not - those amateur and professional beggars are absolutely disgusting, even when they fake gratefulness. The professionals, of course, would never expose their swallow souls like the girl in your comment. Only God can bless her poor soul!

Thank you so much, Alastar, for your loyal and most charming support. You always makes me feel like a lady. Much appreciated!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 22, 2012:

Thank you, Gypsy! I do believe that not only Christmas but also Halloween are perfect opportunities to launch meaningful and successful charity projects. We all (should) stand together.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 22, 2012:

So good to see you, Break of Dawn! The Golden Rule: "Charity begins at home." Although my empathy is deep and sincere, I find donations to institutions or individuals far away from home ridiculous. Right on our doorsteps are people in need of financial and emotional support. If all of us only find ONE family or institution to support close to our home, the difference will have a positive ripple effect reaching the ends of the world. My title of a previous Perspective-hub was "Gratitude is an Attitude". This one could have also been, "Charity is an Attitude."

Love and hugs to you, Sannel. With all my heart I wish you a merry and peaceful Christmas :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 22, 2012:

Peggy, thanks for the info about tax exempt charity organizations. I have found this link to a charity navigator in America ~ http://www.charitynavigator.org/ and also the index containing several ratings ~ http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=topt...

What managers do with charity funds often shocks us into a state of permanent unwillingness to donate funds to unknown organizations. Thanks again!

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on December 21, 2012:

wow Martie.. I agree with you every step of the way.. I believe in helping when ever you see a need sometimes i wonder about that person what they will do with that money or whatever.. but we still need to help and give.. Let God take over.. I believe that we all should stand together and do what we can.. what a wonderful hub here.. I voted up and awesome and sharing

Love the video Paul McCartney

Merry Christmas

Debbie

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 20, 2012:

You have quite the perspective on the charitable spirit here my friend. You know how much I like your style, and love the pic of you being charitable to the hungry pigeons. As to the 2nd kind of people depending on charity here's one that's maddening. A friend noticed a lady holding a sign that said she was homeless over a week or so in the same spot. They felt sorry for her and got up two big bags of good canned food. When gifted it the woman said, "Sh*t, I don't want that, give me money!" Happy Christmas and New Years friend Martie!

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on December 20, 2012:

Voted up and awesome. Your message comes shining through and I agree that people should not take advantage of others under the guise of charity. Wish everyone would at least begin feeling truly charitable at Christmastime. Enjoyed this and passing it on. Great video.

Break of Dawn on December 19, 2012:

Unfortunately there are dishonest, disreputable and lazy people, making it even harder for the honest people that are truly in need of help. I think like with everything else in life, we have to go with our gut feeling. Intuition alone can guide right choice. It doesn't mean I have not being used by dishonest beggars, taking advantage of my generosity. There has been times when I did not listen to my inner voice.( I guess, that's what I mean by following our intuition.) So be it. I can't dwell on that. And it shall definitely not stop me from helping someone in need again, because of that. I know that's what life is really about, helping the less fortunate. And as Bill mentioned earlier; ” Charity is not a one time thing during the holidays; charity must be a way of life in order for it to have a lasting effect. ” I say Amen to that! Martie, thank you for a beautifully written and powerful hub.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

My love and hugs,

Sannel

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 18, 2012:

Excellent hub on the perspectives with regard to the giving of charity. There is a tax exempt organization that everyone should check out before they give hard earned cash to charities. It is called Charity Navigator. Place a .org after it and you will find the website. They rate charities and do not honor those who give huge salaries to the CEO's. The ones where most of the money goes to the end cause gets their top ratings. Of course volunteers are priceless when it comes to operating any type of charity!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 18, 2012:

rcrumple, those arrogant beggars, begging without any shame, trying to pull my sympathy with a feel-sorry-for-me-story, gives me the creeps. We have launched many projects to their benefit, trying to teach them how to apply their talents in order to become self-sufficient, but they ARE NOT interested. They want to be beggars living on charity. What else but parasites are they? Down here proud poor people are willing to sell vegetables and all kinds of stuff on sidewalks - where it is allowable - or they watch cars in parking lots in order to prevent criminals from stealing cars and/or what's inside. So-so many ways to deliver some kind of service in exchange for money.... Thanks for your profound comment. Expect me in your corner by the weekend. I'm logging off now to go spend 2 days in a neighboring country. Take care!

Rich from Kentucky on December 18, 2012:

Martie - Great hub! I've always been one to reject charity. Call it pride or ignorance, I don't like taking advantage of discounts because of my age or the duty I performed for my country. I even call those charity. But, I've always tried to give as much as I could to people. I have grown more and more observant as to who I give my money to. Some folks are constants on certain corners, while other familiar faces seem to move around as if checking out the action in another area. Lately, the "I just had a flat tire and need a couple of dollars for the wrecker" scam has been played to the hilt in our area. Like any good thing, there are bad folks wanting their share, instead of earning it themselves. Great job!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 17, 2012:

@ always exploring

@ mckbirdbks

I appreciate your positive and inspiring feedback, as always. Please check the picture I've just added of a begging baboon -

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on December 17, 2012:

This is so well thought out and presented. Your contribution to the Perspectives series is being well received. Bravo.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 17, 2012:

Hi Martie, Great perspective. Tis the season for charity, hopefully it will continue throughout the year. Many are in need world-wide. I tend to check out charitable organizations before i give. I learned that only two % is given to some children's charity, the rest going to the people who run them. Thank you for listing the eight levels of giving to the poor, interesting and helpful...Cheers..

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 17, 2012:

Hi Eddy! Good to see you in my corner :)

Eiddwen from Wales on December 17, 2012:

A wonderful share and thank you very much;.

Eddy.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 16, 2012:

@ Alicia - We tend to think we are the discoverers of knowledge and wisdom, while people were extremely intelligent and wise since the beginning of time. Nothing, especially in philosophy, is new. Must say, I discovered this other Moses while I've done some research for this hub. So he is also new to me. And I was surprised - we are still in doubt about the same things, still not sure what is right or wrong....

@ ImKarn - just note, those 8 levels have been established in the 12th century by Moses What's-his-name-again..... Check his name in the hub - I am now in the comments-section of my account, not seeing the hub.... Thanks, Leslie, for being on my page... :)

Karen Silverman on December 16, 2012:

Hi, Martie...great hub about charity and soooo apropos for the HOW movement as well! I had no idea that charity came from a hebrew word - very interesting! You '8 levels of giving' are so clear and so simple - even i get it..(lol)..

you know i'm with you all the way - and i really do feel a shift...maybe we'll even succeed..

voting up and sharing forward, my friend..

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 16, 2012:

Martie, your "Perspectives" hubs express your ideas so clearly and are so thought provoking. Your analysis of charity and its meaning is excellent. You've also introduced me to a philosopher who I will investigate further, since your description of his eight levels of giving to the poor is very interesting. Thank you for the link.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 16, 2012:

@ tillsontitan

@ Docmo

I thank you out of my heart for your endless support and delightful comments.

The Shaman's prayer - and your entire comment - is quite a mouth-full, to be pondered for hours. Thank you tillsontitan!

Docmo, I can't wait to read your hub, and I don't know how to describe the feelings your approval arouse in me - that of a student passing an exam with distinction. After all, you (and mar) are the professional lecturers around here. Thank you so much! More chocolates going your way :)

Mohan Kumar from UK on December 16, 2012:

Martie: you are master at these perspectives. Your hubs read like a marvellous lecture on the principles and the philosophy. I love the way you are able to define, delineate and discuss the subject and make us all wiser for it. I absolutely love the fact that we are both giving the same message in our respective hubs. My Eeyore, in fact, could do with reading your hub! And I adore Kahlil Gibran. thanks for all the chocolates for my energy. I needed it! Love and hugs.

Mary Craig from New York on December 16, 2012:

Well if feed back is the approval of your efforts GF you should be getting feedback up the whazoo! Every sentence in this hub makes your point from beginning to end. Your visuals pull us in even deeper.

" May the heart of earth flow to the heart of the heavens through my heart and may my heart be the heart of every living being." A Shaman's Prayer. Surely Martie you have achieved that wonderful goal.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 15, 2012:

Oh gosh, Ericdierker, now you remind me of the saying, "If there's no crime, there will be no job-opportunities in this specific field. So who's going to survive?

The one hand feeds the other......

Thanks for your thought-provoking comment... :)

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 15, 2012:

And herein lies our dilemma. If they no longer need me how can I give? I do not imagine that to happen. But what if it did?

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 15, 2012:

@ kallini - Charity, irresponsibly practiced, indeed corrupts both parties. Your comment is an excellent contribution to the subject. Thank you!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 15, 2012:

@ Sunnie Day

@ bravewarrior

@ MickeySr

@ billybuc

@ marcoujor

@ kallini

Thank you so much for your most inspiring and delightful comments. How would we ever know if our perceptive on social issues are socially acceptable if we don't share it? Feedback is the approval (or disapproval) of our perceptives, concepts and pattern of thoughts. Your approval means a lot to me. Thank you!

Kallini, I totally agree with you. In my country the monkeys and MANY people have developed a disgusting attitude, and will attack you if you don't give them what they want.

kallini2010 from Toronto, Canada on December 15, 2012:

After having read your article, it seems to me to that you are very uncomfortable with the subject of charity like most people. I am sitting on the same fence.

I loved the clip with the singing frogs and this picture of you feeding the pigeons. You would never spot me feeding those birds - in Moscow, they were always the unmissable lords of the dumping sites perceived as the potential disease carriers.

And that how I see charity - we are more inclined to feed the cute birds or more deserving people or in any case we prefer to have the proper justification or we have to feel right about our own charity.

"Charity begins at home and justice begins next door".

Charles Dickens

The way I understand charity is it can never be wrong as long as you do it out of love (at home), the judgment/justice is something you do with your rational mind.

Do what you feel is right and don't burden yourself with thinking about the justice - the rest of the world is always there to pick up the slack.

Charity corrupts and it corrupts both parties - the giver and the receiver. And, funny enough, charity at the level of organizations attracts the most cynical people. Once you see your trust broken, it seems that your kindness is being exploited and it kills the spirit.

It is probably the same as kindness and foolishness.

Being kind is being impractical for the one who gives and rather advantageous to the one who receives (depending on the scale, of course).

The choice everyone makes in his own heart - when and how to be kind and giving. Will your kindness be abused?

It's always a tough choice, but where would we be without kindness?

Empathy is one of our survival traits, empathy is something that lets our society survive. Empathy is in our DNA, so at one point or another we will act on it.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on December 15, 2012:

Dear Martie,

You amaze me with your ability to thoroughly and objectively break down and thoroughly assess an issue.

This was most informative and gives much meat for reflection. I would say that Mickey has tapped the spiritual, and you the secular side, to The Charitable Spirit.

I am forever proud to be a participant in The Perspectives.

Outstanding work...Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 15, 2012:

A powerful message Martie! Charity is not a one time thing during the holidays; charity must be a way of life in order for it to have a lasting effect. Thank you for some great words of reflection. A must read for everyone.

MickeySr from Hershey, Pa. on December 15, 2012:

You publish perspectives within 'Perspectives:', there's just always so much to consider as we move through your hubs . . . when the rest of us publish a hub, that hub is like tuning into a particular tv show - when you publish a hub, that hub is like flipping through the channels for awhile, there's just so much there. Thanks for always giving us your best.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 15, 2012:

Martie, definitely food for thought. Charity must be real; it must be offered from the heart and not just a tax write off. There are so many different forms of charity from monetary donations, to time spent, to kind words and most of all a smile.

Very thought provoking hub, Martie. Thank you!

Sunnie Day on December 15, 2012:

Martie,

I am sitting here with my mouth open and in awe! I have read so many of your hubs and many hubs on this subject but your have written something so profound! It is always a question most keep in their minds...how do you know what they will do with what we give them? What if it is used wrong? What if they are just lazy? I settled this in my mind a long time ago and it is something I have taught my children. I believe we are called to give, to offer charity. It is within us. Through giving we are hopefully made better people as we learn to have an open hand. If someone misuses what they are given I have no doubt they will have to suffer the consequences sooner or later but I do not want to police my giving. I hope this makes sense. I am like you forever putting myself in another s shoes. Thank you for an awesome, wonderful, gifted hub. May it touch many.

Hugs,

Sunnie