Charity & Kindness

Charity by Sir Joseph Boehm

Charity by Sir Joseph Boehm (Photo credit: mira66)

I was searching for a quote on charity and how it relates to kindness, when I happened upon this:

“Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it.” ~ George Sand

My first thought was “this is not what I was looking for”; after staring at it on my screen, it might be exactly what I am looking for.  This statement forces me to look at the hard question of what I am really looking to do with “charity”.  Am I expecting something from the receiver in return for my charitable act?  Am I demanding (explicitly or implicitly) some kind of servitude?  Am I serving someone purely from the goodness of my heart and acting from the perspective of my faith?  And finally, can I continue to be charitable when I make assumptions of the circumstances of a person’s need?

What strikes you when you read this quote?  I know I am not the same after reading it.  What do you think?



  1. I’d been invited to attend an organisation’s “First year celebration”, and was a guest at the organiser’s home. Over breakfast the next morning the subject of charity came up. The wife said, “I’m sure there’s a proverb that says charity can become a curse.” I remembered that saying a few years later when I fell on hard times. Charity certainly hurt at the time. But it was only for a season. Five years later, “Joy came in the morning.”

  2. In Jewish tradition, charity must be anonymous to truly be considered charity, for which nothing, not even credit or prestige is expected in return.

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