Posted by: grantahelms | January 3, 2012

When Is Doing Good A Bad Thing ?

I am often faced with the dilemma of having people asking me to do something that I really don’t have the time for. Is it wrong for me to want to say NO? Am I taking a blessing away from this person by not wanting to do this thing for them? Or, am I leaving this thing open for someone else to receive a blessing? Recently, I discussed this with my Pastor, the most excellent Steve Miller of Heath Springs, SC. To contradict so many things that I have been taught in my life, he said” Sometimes, doing Good can be a Bad Thing!”. Wow, so life changing!

Sometimes, doing Good can be a Bad Thing!”

What exactly does this mean? The plainest way that I can think to describe this is as follows:

1) If helping someone takes away from quality time with your family, it’s a bad thing!

2) If YOU helping someone was meant for someone else, and they lose their blessing, it’s a bad thing!

3) If you doing something for someone else enables them to be lazy, it’s a bad thing!

4) If you do a good thing because someone has lied too you, it’s a bad thing!

” How do you know if what you’re doing is Good or Bad?”

A)Let’s say, theoretically, that you and your family are doing a “Spring clean” of your house. Mr. A calls wanting to know if you can come over right now to cut his grass because he just found out that his in-laws are coming to town. You have been discussing with Mr. A that his grass needed cutting, but he continued putting you off in hopes of saving money. Also, he has his own mower, but at this late moment he would prefer for you to do it. This is a case of a good thing being bad. As bad as you don’t like “Spring cleaning”, and you would love to escape, this is one of the quality times with your family. Working together as a TEAM, to accomplish a common goal. Also, if you jump and run, you are enabling him to be lazy because he has his own mower.

B)Mrs. J asks you and/or Mr. M to come over to do some painting, raking and gutter cleaning. Mrs. J is old school. She would never ask anyone to do anything without paying them. Mr. M and his wife have recently had a baby, their only car is in the shop, he has been recently laid off from work and they are running out of diapers. If you, in your neighborly manner, accept the offer, you will be receiving a blessing that was meant for someone else.

C) Mr. C comes to your house and explains to you that he has lost his job, his wife became laid off, their car broke, they are running out of food and the power bill is due tomorrow. He tells you that he is too proud to accept charity(aka handouts) and was wondering if you would possibly buy his tools so that he can pay some bills and buy some groceries. These days, this is a common story and you would like to help as much as possible. So, you say YES and pay him $500.00. Two nights later, there is a knock at your door, the police are standing outside. You guessed it, you’ve been lied to. The question is, do they charge you for receiving stolen goods or for being an IDIOT?

” But you, my friends, must never tire of doing right.” 2 Thess. 3:13 (NEB)

In the end, just like life, doing good is a matter of choices. It is a matter of being discerning and understanding that not all GOOD is good. In MOST cases, you cannot go wrong helping children and the elderly. Children(young children), unlike their parents, cannot take care of themselves. The only catch is if the parent has coaxed the child, so that you are enabling their laziness. With elderly persons, they usually want you to do things that they can’t do for themselves anymore. The only catch here, you may be enabling their children to be lazy. And this does not only pertain to people. It may happen at work, at church even in your community.

” Have you ever put your family on the back burner to help someone else?”

” Have you ever inadvertently taken someone else’s blessing?”

” Has your doing GOOD ever been based on a lie?”

” What were the consequences of your actions?”



  1. I think that doing good can sometimes be bad, but most of the time, I think is always good to help those that need help. I truly believe that you will be rewarded in the end for all your good deeds. I don’t believe that you should let someone be lazy just because they don’t want to do something for them selves. Just be you Grant, and your rewards will be coming.

    • Thanks Jim. I never said that you wouldn’t be rewarded, I just said that you may be taking someone else’s blessing or enabling them to be lazy. Don’t worry, I will continue to be me. God Bless You, Grant

  2. I had to learn this lesson the hard way, but I learned it. My life is so different since I stopped jumping every time someone asked. It has hurt me and my family in many ways. Now I weigh my options. I still help a lot of people if they need it, but I am careful to give myself the option of saying NO (nicely of course). I find I am able to help a lot more people in better ways when I stop enabling others and take care of myself and my family. Great post. 🙂

    • Thanks Angela. It is a tough pill to swallow, but it is necessary for the healing process. Thanks for stopping by. God Bless You, Grant

  3. Thanks for the shout out, Grant! Thought provoking article.

    Not everyone is ready to hear that they can say, “No.” Some will gladly take your advice out of selfishness” It’s more an art than science.

    Henry Cloud and Townsend wrote an excellent book on the subject…I’ve had this since seminary… Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life

    • Thanks Brother. We all need a shout out every once in a while, even PREACHERS. As I said to Angela very early this morning, it is a tough pill to swallow. Keep up the excellent work. God Bless You, Grant

  4. 1. Yes.

    2. Pretty good idea the answer to this is Yes, but not firing on all cyclinders ATM to pinpoint a definitive example.

    3. More often than I would like to admit.

    4. 1 & 3 both resulted in my doing more than I should have to maintain a healthy relationship with my family (the extended portion is who often needs help) and my friends. More importantly, it drained me of goodwill, faith in humanity and belief I could adequately judge character in the face of apparent need.

    The consequences of doing good, sometimes, outweigh the good we do. Some days, it is a hard choice to make, but saying no is the best for everyone.

    Love & Faith,

    PS Steve, that is an excellent book.

    • Thanks Red. As always, I am very appreciative for the positive feedback. Love you, Grant
      P.S. Look for your name and blog in my 12 AM post.

      • OK. Should I be worried?

  5. I was going to put the audio version of the Boundaries book in my car this morning…dug through the box of old stuff I have… and wouldn’t you know it! It’s on cassette. Ha…up until around six months ago I had only cassette player in my vehicle. Now I only have cd player and that’s when I would dig up an old resource.

    • This is where I am glad for OCD…When I change format, everything is recycled and the old donated to charity!

      • Do i classify as charity?

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