Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Faking Beggar


I just spent 3 weeks in India.   Everytime I return to America I immediately appreciate the cleanliness, and order that exists here.
The streets are quiet.  The streets are clean.  The streets are animal free.  The streets lack beggars.
I was driving into town yesterday appreciating all those things but then again I remembered I had seen beggars here before!

A ”homeless“ man in a wheelchair sits at the entrance of a shopping complex.  He looks different from the beggars in India but he is asking for handouts nonetheless.
As I drove pass his spot I looked for him but he wasn’t there.  I wondered if he had given up.  As I went about my way I continued to compare him to the beggars of India.

He sat in a wheelchair...so did some of them.
He wore ragged clothes...so did they.
He looked un kept...so did they
He held a sign that read ”Anything helps.“..they clasped their hands over their heart suggesting this plea.

The first time I saw the man in the wheelchair I immediately thought he was faking.  He isn’t really homeless, I concluded.
Across the intersection was also was a woman, not that much older than me, pacing the cars at a street light with a cardboard sign reading ”Single mom.“

In this one spot of my town there are 2 quiet beggars.  I doubted both of them. 

I just returned from a place where a hand was thrust out at every turn wanting from me.  Eventually I got pass feeling sorry for the indians and gave away smiles instead, knowing I could never satisfy them. 

As I compared these two situations that exist in 2 different worlds I realized I HAD been more sympathetic to a different culture.
Why was it that I didn’t give a second thought to help the man on my street corner but I’d travel to a 3rd world country and offer more compassion to people suffering with leprosy (the "lowest cast) instead!?

I don’t know the truth from any beggars standpoint.  Maybe it’s sincere, maybe it’s their 2nd income.  How am I to know?
Jesus teaches us to Feed the hungry and clothe the naked, right?  Is there a stipulation to this that we need to consider first?

An hour had passed when I returned near that spot to pick up gorceries  only to find the man in the wheelchair was now there!  As I turned into the entrance my eyes met his.  I saw him and I know he saw me see him.  I watched him through my rear view mirror with conflicting thoughts.  
After my shopping I sat in my car and wondered ”What would Jesus do?“ 

My husband has been an example to our family on this very topic.  He will always stop and give something whether it be coins or dollars. He has even given gum or a sandwich..whatever  he has with him!   
Our kids once asked: ”Dad, what if they are faking?“  
His response is:  ”What if God is testing you?“ 

I decided I was going to give the man in the wheelchair some cash.  I pulled next to him and rolled down the passenger window.  He scooted forward while I wadded up my donation and tossed it for an easier exchange.  He caught it and rewarded me with a ”God Bless Ma’am.“  I wished him to stay warm and drove away with his runny yellow discharged eyes branded on my mind.
Looks like I need a paradigm shift.  I've become a faking giver.

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