避免依賴的陷阱──AVOIDING THE DEPENDENCY TRAP

當父母、企業甚至政府機構未能或拒絕遵循有效的、經過時間考驗的聖經原則時,是非常可悲而且具有破壞性的。

很多父母持續供養著他們的孩子,一直到成年許久以後,有些是因為這些年輕人已經徹底陷入債務,不然就是缺乏搬出去的動力,去探索並學習獨立生活將會面對的挑戰、挫折和獎賞。

有一些企業,或許是因為同情或憐憫,會繼續保留著沒有生產力和缺乏動力的員工,只因為擔心解雇他們可能會造成為難,讓他們難以盡到財務責任和養家糊口。

最近,我發現有必要解雇一個人,他已經簽訂了合約,在我們的牧場,為殘疾和飽經戰火的退伍軍人做急需的建築物工程。這項工作規模不小:完成它需要花費7萬多美元,但這個人連續承諾他會完成工作後,竟然三次都沒有出現,於是,我們聘請了另一家公司,馬上工作就得以完成。儘管這個承包商後來解釋了他一直被困住的一些問題,但我堅持工作需要完成,而他沒有履行承諾。

政府一直有著壞名聲,只因在他們的管轄範圍中,製造了一批依賴性高的人群。僅舉一例:在美國,由農業部管理的食物券計劃,竟然向超過4600萬人發放了有史以來最多的,免費供餐和食物券,還引以為傲。

於此同時,由美國內政部指導的國家公園管理局,向參觀國家公園的遊客提出這樣的要求:「請不要給動物餵食」。他們宣稱這項政策的理由是:「動物們會越來越依賴施捨,就學不會照顧自己。」

我是完全贊成,在人們有實際需要時幫助他們的,聖經也肯定了這樣做的重要性。例如,以西結書16章49節,提出了一個意想不到的觀點。看哪,你妹妹所多瑪的罪孽是這樣:她和她的眾女都心驕氣傲,糧食飽足,大享安逸,並沒有扶助困苦和窮乏人的手。」

我們雖被呼召去幫助那些,我們遇到的有需要的人,但是聖經也警告我們避免因幫助別人,以至於造成永久的依賴性。使徒保羅在處理古代帖撒羅尼迦教會成員中的閒懶問題時,給出了這樣的告誡。「我們在你們那裏的時候,曾吩咐你們說,若有人不肯做工,就不可吃飯。」(帖撒羅尼迦後書310

有趣的是,俄羅斯領導人弗拉基米爾 · 列寧也提出了類似的禁令(不肯做工,就不可吃飯),作為社會主義的必要原則。它甚至被列入了1918年的俄羅斯憲法。列寧的目的不是要宣傳基督教和對聖經的信仰,但即使是他也承認這一經濟規則的有效性。

作為企業和專業領導人,我們應該對為我們工作,和與我們一起工作的人的需求,保持敏感和關心。但是,如果我們任憑他們做工作,卻總是無法達到要求時,那對他們卻反倒不是公義了。正如箴言16章26節所指出的:「勞力人的胃口使他勞力,因為他的口腹催逼他。」

Ken Korkow居住在美國內布拉斯加州的奧馬哈市,他擔任該地的CBMC區域總監。本篇文章改編自他的「生活傳真」專欄。經許可使用。

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多相關的內容,請參考以下的經文:

箴言3章27-28節
3:27 你手若有行善的力量,不可推辭,就當向那應得的人施行。
3:28 你那裏若有現成的,不可對鄰舍說:去吧,明天再來,我必給你。
箴言11章24-25節
11:24 有施散的,卻更增添;有吝惜過度的,反致窮乏。
11:25 好施捨的,必得豐裕;滋潤人的,必得滋潤。
箴言19章17節
19:17 憐憫貧窮的,就是借給耶和華;他的善行,耶和華必償還。
馬可福音12章31節
12:31 其次就是說:『要愛人如己。 』再沒有比這兩條誡命更大的了。」
使徒行傳20章35節
20:35 我凡事給你們作榜樣,叫你們知道應當這樣勞苦,扶助軟弱的人,又當記念主耶穌的話,說:『施比受更為有福。』
以弗所書2章10節
2:10 我們原是他的工作,在基督耶穌裏造成的,為要叫我們行善,就是上帝所預備叫我們行的。
提摩太後書3章17節
3:17 叫屬上帝的人得以完全,預備行各樣的善事。

反省與問題討論

  1. 在今天的社會中,你是否觀察到,本應努力實現個人和專業獨立的人們,他們的依賴態度卻在增加呢?如果是,你認為這是什麽原因造成的?
  2. 你認為美國公園管理局的警告,「不要給動物餵食」,與我們如何看待和反應,我們周圍人的經濟和物質需求,有相似之處嗎?解釋一下你的答案。
  3. 所多瑪和蛾摩拉,在舊約時代被稱為墮落和不正當生活的城市,然而他們的「過犯」或最大的罪,是沒有照顧到貧窮和真正有需要的人。你認為這是什麽意思?這與不鼓勵依賴性有什麽關係呢?
  4. 有人說:「給人一條魚,能養活他一天;教人捕魚,能養活他一輩子。」 我們如何才能合理有效地解決人們的實際需求,同時注重幫助他們學會如何自助呢?


AVOIDING THE DEPENDENCY TRAP

By Ken Korkow

It is very sad – and damaging – when parents, businesses and even government institutions fail – or refuse – follow sound, time-tested biblical principles.

Parents continue to support their children well into adulthood, either because the young people have fallen hopelessly into debt or simply lack the motivation to move out and discover the challenges, frustrations – and rewards – of learning to live independently.

Some businesses, perhaps in the name of compassion or sympathy, continue to carry unproductive and unmotivated employees for fear that firing them might cause distress and make it difficult for them to meet their financial obligations and provide for their families.

Recently I found it necessary to fire a man who had been given a contract to do much-needed construction work at our ranch for disabled and battle-scarred military veterans. The job was not a small one – it would cost more than $70,000 to complete – but three times the man did not show up to do the work he had promised. We hired another company, and the job has since been completed. Even though this contractor later explained some of the problems he had been struggling with, I still had work that needed to be done – and he had failed to honor his commitment.

Governments are notorious for creating dependency among the people they govern. Just one example: the Food Stamp Program in the United States, administered by the Department of Agriculture, is proud of distributing the greatest total of free meals and food stamps ever – to more than 46 million people.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, directed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, makes this request to visitors of the national parks: “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because “the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.”

I am all in favor of helping people when they have legitimate needs, and the Bible affirms the importance of doing that. Ezekiel 16:49, for example, makes a surprising observation: “Now this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.”

We are called to assist those we encounter who are in need, but the Scriptures also warn against helping people in such a way that it creates permanent dependence. The apostle Paul, addressing a problem of idleness among people who were a part of the ancient church in Thessalonica, gave this admonition: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat’” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

It is interesting that a similar prohibition was presented by Russian leader Vladimir Lenin as a necessary principle under socialism. It was included in the Russian Constitution of 1918. Lenin’s goal was not to advance Christianity and trust in the Bible, but even he recognized the validity of this economic precept.

As business and professional leaders, we should be sensitive and considerate of the needs of the people who work for and with us. But we do them an injustice by allowing them to do less than acceptable work. As Proverbs 16:26 observes, “The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.”

Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from his “Fax of Life” column. Used with permission.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. In society today, have you observed an increase in the attitude of dependency among people who should be working toward personal and professional independence? If so, what do you think has been the result?
  2. Do you think the U.S. Park Service’s warning, “Do not feed the animals,” is relevant for how we perceive and respond to the financial and physical needs of people around us? Explain your answer.
  3. Sodom and Gomorrah were known in Old Testament times as cities of depravity and perverse living, and yet their “guilt” – or greatest sin – was failure to care for people who were poor and in need. What do you think this is saying? How does this line up with not encouraging feelings of dependency?
  4. Someone has said, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” How can we reasonably and effectively address legitimate needs of people, and at the same time focus on helping them to learn how to help themselves?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
Proverbs 3:27-28, 11:24-25, 19:17; Mark 12:31; Acts 20:35; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:17


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