I’m writing now fairly emotionally. I know its kind of dangerous to write out of emotion, but sometimes I need an outlet in which to vent. So the readers of this blog entry will be my ‘ventees.’
Someone came to the church the other day looking for work, love, family, hope, etc…I tend to be in between cynical and hopeful about people wandering in off the streets. Unfortunately, I was much too close to hopeful.
I wanted to believe this guy was worth spending my time with: driving him to find work, giving him clothes, having others drive him to find work, even having the church help him with rent. But the problem was that the guy destroyed my trust totally by his actions (which I really don’t want to get into). Basically, he followed the Steve Miller Band song, “Go, take the money and run.”
It angers me that someone who knew the bible as much as I did, who seemed so trustworthy, was a charlatan. A quack. A liar. A liar who deceived me totally, through and through. And it hurts. Right now my thoughts towards this gentlemen are not love. In fact they are very much the opposite, I confess. And if I saw him right now, I might have to keep my hands in my pockets for fear of putting them to use (although that’s really not an issue-I hit one dude when I was in elementary school and it hurt my hand so bad I never did it again!)
Perhaps its my pride which hurts the most. I took the bait, hook, line and sinker (which is why I only use artificial lures when I fish). But its also the fact that someone may actually need help, and I won’t believe them. Ever.
We do have a service in town which actually investigates the needs of people, reports quacks trying to use the system, and refers people to churches. Because of several issues, I didn’t refer him to them. From now on, I shall.
I guess I should have been more cynical. I should have had greater wisdom. I will learn from this mistake. I honestly don’t have a merciful heart towards people such as this gentlemen. I was starting to get one. Who knows where it will go?
However, if I allow this experience of being burned to cause me to neglect the poor in toto, I believe I would just be making an excuse for a sin of omission. After all, if I were burned by a church, I couldn’t just not go to ANY church (although that often happens). Same thing. If a white/black/Jew hurts me, should I expect that all of ‘them’ are out to get me? We call that racism. So I’m stuck! I guess I’m guilty of ‘poorism.’
However, I will from now on (at least that’s my stance now) not give any money, time, or even T-shirts to those not fully investigated by Manatee Religious Services. Many are quacks, but some aren’t. I just am not going to try to figure out who’s who. That way, maybe I won’t become a ‘poorist.’
…..being generous means not expecting anything in return…..nothing……you’re a good man charlie brown.
Ask your parishioners sometime about someone we endeavored to help. We are not cynical, but we are wiser! We learned, among other things, that we need to be more educated in the process of giving aid. G
Gail,I think you hit it on the nose. We do need to be educated with giving aid. There is a time for giving with no strings attached. But this does involve some information gathering. On the flip side I can think of several we’ve helped through our deacon’s fund. They are on their feet, working hard, and one is even paying it back over time. But once again, we looked into the situation very carefully.
Oberon,I appreciate your thoughts as well. Giving without expecting anything in return is grace. And grace is hard to give; even sometimes hard to receive.