In which I find it difficult to be compassionate

A work colleague had been jailed for not paying his debtS. He is now detained in a penitentiary here in Dubai, with insufficient food supply and other jail-related discomforts. Imagine being jailed, abroad.


Now, there’s a letter circulating in the office asking for financial help to be extended to the jailed person so he can buy a more decent food, telephone cards to call his family back in his home country and other basic needs.

We work in the same company but in different departments so I’ve known him though not quite well but this I fully know: he was having a girlfriend here despite the fact that he is married (wife back in home country) and have kids! I’ve met them (he and the gf) in a couple of parties. Frankly, I do not like seeing people engaged in extra-marital affairs, whatever the case is or whatever it looks like. Call me judgmental or simple mental if you prefer, but I don’t like to be friends with cheaters (and there are plenty of cheating expats here in Dubai, spouses back in their home country).


Now, I have the letter and envelope in my hands and I would be lying if I say I have no problem with giving something to help him because I do have an issue. It’s one thing to get jailed for an innocent crime (mistaken identity, etc or something that you’re totally innocent with) but getting jailed for irresponsibly handling financial matters (overusing of credit cards, spending money on his other woman, as claimed by his friends) is clearly something else.

Everyone deserves a second chance, I know. A part of me is saying, “Help him, he’s already in jail.” while another voice is whispering, “Why should you help him? He deserved what he got. That’s his wife’s karma!”


22 thoughts on “In which I find it difficult to be compassionate

  1. Hi, I’ve quite enjoyed reading your blog. It’s pretty interesting. I’ve chanced upon your blog as I was searching about Japan. As for your dilemma, think for a while what would Jesus do. Would he extend his kindness or leave this guy to rot in jail? Although I’m also against cheaters, there’s enough cruelty in this world already. A small amount of generosity wouldn’t hurt, right?


  2. I understand where you are coming from, I am not a Christian but I dont have all the facts of this man, I dont know if his marriage is loveless and awful, one he stays in for the kids, possibly he is a low life. He may be bad in one area but arent we all and if we were guillty of envy, jealsousy, lying in one area, should we not get help because of those.

    I say stick to your views (they seem spot on) but stick some money in, his family may need him to contact them as they will be suffering too.


  3. I would give some money. You don’t know the situation. I work to help bankrupt people every day, and you would be amazed by the number of people who get into trouble over things like medical bills or other unexpected, unavoidable expenses. Even if the financial trouble was his own fault, I think that he does need a second chance- now he’ll learn from his mistakes and not make the same ones again.

    I have to say, I’ve never understood the concept of jailing someone over debts- how does that help the creditors get paid? I would think that wage garnishment and such makes much more sense.


  4. Yes this is a tough situation. As the others have said, What would Jesus do? He would try to help the sinner, without condoning what he had done. He would forgive, even if it wasn’t his place to be the forgiver.
    I would send what I could without taking anything from my family. I would then include him in my prayers. Perhaps this time in jail with turn his heart. Has anyone called a priest for him?


  5. I hate to be the one going against the crowd, but I’m not sure I would send money in this situation. It doesn’t seem that he is repentant and is planning to change so whatever is given is just going to allow him to continue to misuse it and his family. If anything, I think I would purchase a phone card for him to call his family, but I don’t see why he needs any more decent food that what he is receiving in the jail.

    Sorry if this sounds too harsh….


  6. This I think is easy. He should be left in jail until he’s out…no extra money for him. If he can afford to have a family and a extra marital girl friend, then he can afford to pay for his mistakes. Get his girl friend to buy him food! Seriously, what is the world coming to…there are people on the streets who don’t have a roof over their heads or meals regularly.


  7. Tough situation! Is he personally the one asking for help? Or is it the company or another person in the company who’s initiating extending help and just involving everyone else? I think that will be my deciding factor. If he asked for the help personally, I could be wrong, but he is more likely NOT bound to do the same thing that got him to jail over and over again. And if he didn’t ask for help personally then he probably don’t need the help. Does he really want to call his family and all that? For all you know, he doesn’t want to do that. And, are you sure your financial help is going to the supposed purpose – food and phone cards, and not to this other woman. ‘Cause if you think about it, who is financing her right now …

    I think, everyone would love to help, but then, everyone needs financial help right now. I would be smart about helping. I wouldn’t want my help to be meaningless. Or I’m just not compassionate and a Christian as I should be.


  8. if you had unlimited funds to give to people in need, then it wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

    but most don’t have that luxury.

    there are plenty of us who can barely afford food because life deals some people a bad hand for no reason. on top of that, the economy is miserable.

    some guy having a hard time in prison because he overspent on his mistress? sorry. i consider myself a compassionate person, but there are so many other, more worthwhile causes to support.


  9. Sorry, Grace, this is a tough one! My first response was, well, you don’t know him, really you only know of him, so how can you know if the money will be used the way it’s intended. Then I read all the people saying be Christ like and forgive… well, he hasn’t done anything against you for you to forgive him. So I don’t know that that’s a valid point, but I do see the point of helping those in need as Christ did…
    However I think the point of actually buying a phone card is valid, then you know the money wouldn’t be spent in any other way.
    My only other thought is… if you feel the need to be compassionate, but aren’t sure about this guy… is there someone else in your life at the moment who also needs help that perhaps you could extend help to? A neighbor or friend?
    Good luck on your decision!


  10. Even though he is a scumbag and deserves what he got, I think it shows a lot about you if you go ahead and donate a little something to his cause.
    Who knows, maybe he will take the money collected and send it back home to his wife and kids? That’s what we would like to think, so that’s what you should see when and if you donate =]
    Good luck with your decision-Either way it’s wonderful of you to consider!


  11. If I were you, I would give for the sake of giving with thought to his family and their desire to know how he is doing. Maybe your giving and the generosity of others will create a change in this man.


  12. I am a firm believer of: “be sure your sins will find you out”. Perhaps while he is in jail he will think seriously about his life and the people he is hurting or will eventually hurt. Why can’t his gf help bail him out?
    The evil side of me would leave him in jail, but honestly I would show him a little compassion and donate to his cause, and leave him to the Lord in prayer. Who knows this may be Gods way of giving him a time-out!
    Good luck with your decision.


  13. always follow what is in your heart..i know the experience..not so easy to be inside the jail,financially AND EMOTIONALLY..wala ka ng ginawa niya yung kasalanan nila..tulungan mo sya as a christian..pakita mo yung pagkakaisa nyo sa opisina ninyo bilang kaibigan or kasamahan mo sya sa work…mahirap sa loob..lalo na sa DUBAI..walang sistema ang hustisya..


  14. Wow…tough situation!! For me, I wouldn’t give any money. What is wrong with him doing his time in jail? I think he should have a hard time to think about what he did to get himself in that sort of situation. And besides, how do you know the phone card would be used to call his wife? He could just use it to call his mistress.

    I’d rather give money to feed homeless people that to feed someone who is getting some food in jail, although it may not be gourmet.


  15. Grace, I know you’re torn between having a kind heart and wanting some kind of justice… follow your gut instinct. There are too many that think jail is like a little vacation with basic comforts and it’s not! It’s meant as a punishment for behavior and to learn a lesson. Aside from the infidelity, he’s not innocent, he’s incarcerated for a reason, so let him learn from the experience… perhaps he’ll think twice before repeating that behavior, and be an example to others as well.

    I’m so tired of hearing about inmates complaining about their circumstance, when their hardships are a direct result of their own actions… not anyone else’s. Perhaps there would be less crime if they still had chain gangs and work crews, rather than tv, computers, cell phones and cozy little cells to make homey.

    I like Sheriff Joe’s way of handling things… no calling cards or comforts here! 😉


  16. I agree with what most are saying here. I am a Christian as well, and would give to others in need. But those are the defining words: in need. This man is not in need of anything, except perhaps prayers that jail will make him turn his life around. He, unlike people in need, has a place to sleep, clothes to wear, and food to eat. Grace, do not feel bad if you don’t give him anything. He is not starving, he will be fine.


  17. Hmmm a difficult one. I bet his wife doesn’t know!

    Now that he is in prison he can reflect on the chain of events that brought him there. Your colleagues are very kind to help him but he got himself into this predicament in the first place

    I would say that he is being taken care of better than some of this citys construction workers and at least he doesn’t have to toil for 10 hours before being allowed to eat!!

    Don’t feel bad if you don’t want to help financially – you can help a real charity instead like the current shoebox appeal – these guys deserve it 100%

    If you want to contribute in some way you could send him a small package of food (i believe that this is allowed)

    Good luck with your decision!


  18. My first instinct was to let this rat rot in jail, then I felt bad about his wife and kids. Then I read what Monica wrote and I agree with completely with what she said. I know you have a wonderful heart Grace, perhaps a calling card would be the answer.
    People will probably get mad at me for saying this, but I am really sick of everyone saying “What would Jesus do?” I am a Christian, but I don’t throw that up into everyones face at every situation.
    I know that you will do what you feel is best, Grace and it WILL be the right one for you, and don’t let anyone you work with make you feel bad about your decision!


  19. I know I’m a little late commenting, but I wouldn’t donate anything to him. He made choices and he has to live with the consequences. Plus, it sounds like he’s really not a good person. 😦


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