I read this in The Book of Q or The Gospel of Thomas: “…love your enemies, do good, and lend without expecting anything in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of God.”
This reminded me of a very important lesson my father taught me at a young age. When you help someone, do it without expectation of anything in return. If you do get anything in return, then regard that as a bonus. If you get nothing in return, then move on and help the next person.
There is this beautiful concept of paying it forward. This means that for example I would help someone when they need a hand up, and when they want to repay me, I suggest that they rather help someone else who needs a hand up. I advise them to do it unconditionally, and to feel the satisfaction of seeing someone else flourish.
Where I don’t agree with these words – maybe because I am missing something that I still need to discover – is the idea of lending (not giving) without expecting something in return. I have had too many experiences of lending money to people, only for them to then see me as an easy source of income to which they feel entitled to return time and time again. I feel and know in my heart of hearts that that is wrong.
We all wake up with a bucket of energy every morning. How we spend that energy is entirely up to us. We can use the energy to create and make the world a better place, or we can simply swallow up the energy or kick the bucket of energy aside, and then scrounge around for the energy of other people and waste that as well. This is why you would feel exhausted and irritated in the presence of some people, no matter how good you felt before you encountered them.
I don’t go around trying to collect from people who owe me money. If I discover that they have this unquenchable thirst for other people’s money once I have lent them money, I simply avoid them. I know from experience that getting such people to repay you is not worth the damage to your own soul. I can lie awake about it while they sleep like babies, or I can learn from it and move on.
As you grow older, your discernment improves and you get better at assessing who wants and needs upliftment, and who is simply a parasite wanting to absorb other people’s energy as far as they can without any effort of their own.
When I read the words in the quote again, I realise how much I still have to learn about ‘lending without expecting anything in return’,