As I was filling up my truck with fuel, a gentleman walks over to me and asks me for $12.50 to fix a flat tire on his vehicle. Based on our conversation, I doubted he was being completely honest with me. Was he going to use the money for alcohol or fix a flat? Normally, I’d deny the request (justifying my response by assuming he was going to use the money for drugs or alcohol), but I chose not to go that route this time.
Instead, I gave him some money, looked at him in the eyes, and asked him to promise me he was going to use the money for what he had stated. He said yes, but then he shook his head, thought for a few seconds, and said to me, “Wow, nobody has ever asked me that before; that’s good.” Even though this probably wasn’t the first time he asked for money to fix a flat, I saw that he was taken back as well with what I had made him promise.
The fact that his character was elevated enough that he could stand on a promise made him think. The man attained some self-pride, enough pride that he could make a promise to someone. He walked off and I could only wonder if my comment nudged him towards making better choices.
What should we Christians do? Should we say no and judge them as unworthy? Do we see them scrounging for a few dollars in the same way a rodent scrounges for bits of food? Instead, we need to set our judgement aside, and instead, find ways to give the person something more than money; something in such a way that elevates them from being “less than human”.
Maybe next time instead of outright saying “No”, maybe we should give a little bit of money, and a lot of prayers or encouraging words. When we express love in an outwardly way, this may be enough for them to realize that Christ loves all, including the addict.
“And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.”
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. -Luke 15:16-20 (NKJV).