It’s Christmas Eve…. and I turned away a beggar….

It’s Christmas Eve… the day before the penultimate day of giving and sharing – but I have a confession to make:  I turned away a beggar…

I’ve been over it and over it in my mind, should I have done that? Was that the ‘Christian’ thing to do? Should I spend more time asking God (ok, be honest – should I start) asking God for his compassion?  Let me give you the story…

A couple weeks ago this guy came knocking on our house.  He said that he’s a mental out-patient, and that he needed $5 to get to the Psychriatric Hospital for tests.  (He’ll probably take two buses – one to get there and another on the trip back.)  I gave him the money and thought nothing of it.  A week later, he was back – asking for $5 to tide him over till he got his pension money.  Again, I gave it over without any problem.  Once more, a couple weeks later, he was back again.  I told him that I couldn’t afford to give him anything, but I relented and scrounged around to find something.  By this time, I must admit, my Christian joy of giving was wearing thin…  I even heard him say that if he came back again I didn’t have to give him anything…

Today, he was back, bright and early, asking if I could spare something for Christmas!  I must admit, I lost it.  I told him, “Sorry, I can’t help you this time.”  He was pressing, until I got angry and told him, “Look, I don’t want to hear anymore. Just leave!”

I mean, I know that’s not what Jesus would have done.  But isn’t there a difference between being generous and being used?  Ok, so maybe he doesn’t have anything (or so he claims, to be honest I don’t know whether to believe all of what he says) and I broke my own rule to not give money but give in kind (food, etc.)  I’m still constrained by the fact that I need to love my neighbour as I love myself.  

What would you have done?  Am I  bad person? Should I have continued to let him get these $5 and $4.5o’s?  They add up after a while…. Talk to me, people!!!!

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5 Responses

  1. Ahhh – i think your timing on saying a firm ‘No! may have been a little better – Christmas Eve?

    And i also think you were likely more angry with yourself and feeling ‘used’ than at him for persisting with someone who offered him help.

    If he dares come back it might be time to invite him in for a coffee – or if that is a risk you are not prepared to take ask him to wait while you go inside for a minute or two – then bring one out and share it with him.

    Then have a real talk and explain that while you are not ungenerous – neither are you willing to become someone who can be relied upon for constant cash handouts – relationships where only one person is doing the giving are not acceptable in this world.

    Are there things you hate doing he might do in return for a few dollars? Just one thoughgt! 😉

    Anyway – Merry Christmas to you and yours Bajanman 🙂

    <B

  2. “Ahhh – i think your timing on saying a firm ‘No! may have been a little better – Christmas Eve?”

    😆 yeah … I thought about the fact I was saying ‘No’ on Christmas eve too….

    “Are there things you hate doing he might do in return for a few dollars? Just one thought!”

    hmm…. as he is a mental outpatient I don’t know if he is reliable or not…

    ” relationships where only one person is doing the giving are not acceptable in this world.” Yeah exactly – that’s what I think too…

    I hope I can be of help to him without endangering myself or my family.

  3. Merry Christmas from Texas. Recently I was in Barbados and stopped in to ask a guy for a buck and he threw me out. No just kidding.

    If you want to compare yourself to the world, you gave far more than most. Most assume the money is going for beer and it happens rarely. To give twice and then give again narrows you down to a very small percentage. Great job!

    I read a true story years ago of one of our “fathers in the faith” in England and a short version was he heard a knock at the door. He had been praying for seminary tuition money. There was a beggar at the door wanting beer money. The father spotted a coin in the gravel at his door. He managed to scoop it up without the beggar spotting what he had done.

    He first told the beggar he didn’t have any money. Then, the Spirit convicted him to give the found coin to the beggar. Out of obedience, he did. Later he went to the mail box and found sufficient money for multiple semisters tuition.

    The question begs to be answered. Without his obedience, would there have been tuition money in the mail box?

    Usually, when I feel like dirt for not doing something. I made the wrong choice. Not being judgemental and I drive past beggars many times. Sometimes, I help. Sometimes, I don’t. It is all about the heart. God knows how to talk. Sometimes, I choose to listen.

    Throw out the rational and embrace the irrational. That’s where you will find God.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. 😆 “Recently I was in Barbados and stopped in to ask a guy for a buck and he threw me out. No just kidding.” 😆

    Certainly had me laughing with that intro 😀

    “Throw out the rational and embrace the irrational. That’s where you will find God.”

    Amen, bro!

    Well, I’m gonna keep that before me. “Embrace the irrational” 😀 (My friends will tell you I do that all the time anyway 😉 )

    MERRY CHRISTMAS from the Caribbean – Hope the day was a good one, and may God spots follow you every day of your life!

  5. Goodness, I really don’t know. This question in general is … well … a huge QUESTION to me. I know we have to have boundaries (otherwise we get used and therefore abused), but I don’t know what those boundaries are or how to identify them. But … I don’t consider you a bad person, no. 😉

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