Whether meant as a light-hearted joke or a serious dig about my naivety, I have often been called a “sucker” for giving money to a stranger in need.
I was very young the first time I felt the urge to give away something to a friend in need and I remember getting in trouble for it. (In my parents defense, it wasn’t “mine” to give away. Lol) Unfortunately, that was the first of many messages that confused me: on one hand, share your toys. On the other, don’t talk to strangers.
It was easy to follow the rules of parents. But as we become adults, we must make decisions on our own, based on our own beliefs and convictions. And as the years pass, the more our world view becomes tainted by harmful life experiences, fear of criminal intent and the media broadcasting nothing but the negative. All in all, we start to believe we are surrounded by people undeserving of any help at all and I fear…our hearts are in danger of growing numb.
You may have heard theses warnings too:
“It’s a scam. They are using us to support their house and car. I saw it on 60 minutes.”
“They aren’t really poor. Don’t fall for it.”
“They are just trying to buy drugs.”
“They are just trying to buy beer and liquor. You are just supporting their habit!”
“She can’t be hungry: she isn’t that skinny!”
“They got themselves into this mess, they can get themselves out.”
“They are robbers. They are just trying to lure you!”
“Don’t go near them: they will abduct you!”
“They are faking: you are a sucker if you give them your money.”
These messages have been a source of internal conflict for me for years. On occasion, I break the “rules” and give away money but always think to myself, “Am I a fool? Did I just get duped?”
But today, as I looked someone in the eyes, trying to discern if she was lying or not, a revelation hit me square in the heart in the form of a question: “Who cares!?”
In that moment, I finally realized I’m not the judge and how could I ever know anyway and if we all got what we deserved, our world would be void of love, kindness and all goodness. In fact, those who need kindness the most are those most undeserving (I know because I am one of them!)
So who cares IF they MIGHT be lying! What if you guess wrong and they are not? Maybe it is only partially true but what if TRUE part is their hunger? What if our tight-lipped “no” was to someone who really did have a genuine need?
What if, instead of being suspicious, you were generous and kind? What if you smiled and asked them their name? What if, instead of money, you walked them inside and got them a warm meal and shared Gods love with them?
What if they did lie? Who cares! Be kind and generous anyway. Do you think God would be mad you were so trusting? Do you think He would be disappointed with your open, warm and giving heart? Let them spin their tale if that’s their ploy but YOU, convict them with kindness and let God be the judge.
Today, I dare you as I dare myself: go ahead…take the risk of giving people the benefit of the doubt. And if you error, error on the side of compassion, not suspicion. To the world, you may be a “sucker” every time but to God, you are wise, honoring and rich in blessing.
Whose opinion of you matters more???
Prov 22:9 “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.”
Matt 25: 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”