I was inspired this morning by a blog at budgetsaresexy.com regarding whether or not to accept a gift of a car by a relative (for more details, please see the blog posting). But in general terms, a gift or charity should almost always be viewed in the best of terms.
According to the freedictonary.com charity is defined in some of the following ways:
char•i•ty (ch r -t )
• Something given to help the needy; alms.
• Benevolence or generosity toward others or toward humanity.
• Indulgence or forbearance in judging others. See Synonyms at mercy.
• Charity Christianity The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one’s neighbors as objects of God’s love.
• Voluntary activity of or disposition towards donating money, property, or services to the needy or for general social betterment. — philanthropic, adj.
• Kindness (especially in giving money to poor people)
In the above mentioned blog, there was a concern that by accepting the gift, there would be an implied obligation that something was owed. Now correct me if I am wrong but if you give something with an expectation of being repaid or owed, than it is not a gift at all. Instead, this implies your really ‘selling’ or ‘trading’ it in exchange for something else. That is not what I mean when I refer to gifts or charity.
Charitable gifts are those given with no expectations in return. They are a show of generosity and concern where the betterment of someone else is truly at the heart of the giving. In these cases, we should not let pride get in the way. We live in tough economic times, and everyone can use a helping hand in one form or another.
I know this sounds like the “pay it forward” concept, but if someone gives you a gift that you cannot afford, or that will help ease a burden in some way, why not accept it? Then when you are able, either return the favor or do something similar for someone else who is in need. The world could do with a few more expressions of kindness and generosity, and giving to others does your own heart a tremendous amount of good. Besides, there are many far less fortunate people who are desperately in need, yet they have no one to give them gifts.
In the cases where someone offers you something with expectations in return, then simply give them back the gift. But only if you are sure those are their intentions. Call me an occasional optimist, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise.