Justice clashes with guilt in Christian’s approach to helping the less fortunate in downtown St. Louis.
Recently I had a real question on my heart: How generous am I?
While heading to the Fox Theatre to see the “So You Think You Can Dance?” tour I had to make a stop along the way.
I pulled into a gas station to grab a snack before arriving at the dance concert.
Before entering the station I was stopped by a man asking for money to ride the bus, 50 cents to be exact.
I told him I had no cash on me. I lied. There was a $20 bill in my wallet.
After heading into the store, buying a snack, I paid with my card, and walked out.
Again the man asked me for change, I denied him a second time.
I went to my truck and began to open a bag of chips I had gotten when a man in a wheelchair with one leg and an eye patch rolled behind my truck, blocking my way out.
While I was patiently waiting he wheeled up in between my truck and the car parked beside me.
The man stopped at the window of the car behind me and I could hear him asking for money for cigarettes.
The person in the car gave him a cigarette instead.
The man in the wheelchair had just gotten to my window when I had started my truck.
As I was about to back up he knocked on my window, I reluctantly shook my head.
Pulling away there was a heavy feeling in my heart of guilt and regret.
As a Christian I know the Bible says, “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42)
Reading this verse brings shame to me.
Twice in one day I was approached and both times I denied offering help to these men in need.
You may ask what reasoning I have to refuse giving them my generosity.
Being a student in college makes things even harder because I am trying to hold onto whatever money I have left.
You are probably questioning what I just said about holding onto my money since I started the article saying I was headed to the Fox Theatre, which is never an inexpensive endeavor.
I was treating my girlfriend to a special night out.
I don’t have a whole lot of money but what I do have I try to spend on others to bring them happiness.
When a beggar asks for money they may not be needing it for essential things like food or clothing.
Being inadvertently responsible for someone feeding an addiction would weigh on me.
If someone less fortunate asks me for money I do offer them the opportunity to receive food or a non-alcoholic drink.
When they deny an offer other than money I do not give them anything else.
As I said before, I don’t want to further aid someone into their downward spiral.
Even if I think the end justifies the means, deep down I feel remorse for my fellow man.
I feel bad for not helping them out but at the same time I do not know what they will use the money for.
Ultimately, I should side with being charitable toward my fellow man and give them the benefit of the doubt.
This experience has made me call into question how generous I am and what I can do to improve upon my fault of not being more giving.