Helping Other People at All Times, Even If…

eagle scout cstari…you don’t necessarily like them very much.

As scouts and scouters, we recite a pledge of honor each time we repeat our Scout Oath or Scout Promise. Part of that promise is to help other people at all times.

Sometimes its easy to fulfill this promise when it requires very little investment on our part – holding a door for a stranger whose hands are full of groceries, or offering an arm to an elderly person struggling to ascend or descend steep stairs.

What about dealing with people we don’t particularly like? I have a neighbor down our street who is openly hostile to my family because we’re scouts. He has shouted obscenities towards my wife and sons when taking his dog for a walk past our yard, and he has encouraged our other neighbors to refuse to buy popcorn from us. However, if I found him pinned under his car, I’d rescue him and call an ambulance. Would I be tempted to hesitate for about a half second before making that decision because he’s been so consistently difficult to deal with since he moved to our street? I hope not, but I’m human and certainly not perfect.

C.S. Lewis may best be known as an author of popular fiction such as “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Screwtape Letters”, but I think some of his best work was in non-fiction writing. Books like “Mere Christianity” and “The Problem with Pain” bring a fresh perspective to how we reconcile our thoughts and feelings about faith and our duties to God and Others.

Consider this quote from “Mere Christianity” on the topic of helping people we don’t like:

The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude’, you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less.

So when we see our neighbor we’ve trained ourselves to forget the past offenses and simply smile and say “hello”. We don’t bother him with popcorn sales, but you know, our neighbors have been buying more since our sincerity in trying to avoid a conflict has shown through as genuine and loving.

Our actions speak louder than our words. Living to fulfill our duties as scouts and scouters provides a testimony beyond just words.

How about you?

  • Do you struggle with difficult to deal with neighbors?
  • Are you angry with fellow scouters from another troop or roundtable?
  • What can you do to bury the hatchet and help other people at all times without bias?
  • Have you talked to friends about ways to overcome your disagreements or other impediments to fulfilling our oath and law?

About Troop113

Our Troop # comes from Psalm 1:1-3 - describing the men we want our scouts to become
This entry was posted in Devotional, Scout Oath, Scout Slogan, Scouting Ideals and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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