To help or not to help?
While we were out running errands the other day, we stopped at a red light waiting for our turn to go. As we were waiting, I noticed there was a young couple (probably mid-20's) holding a sign. Not sure if they were a couple or siblings. I don't remember the exact wording of the sign but it was something like:
My family and I are facing hard times and we could really use your help. Anything you can give will be appreciated. God bless you.
(From the backseat) J says: Mama, what are those people doing?
(Taking the obvious route) Me: They are holding a sign.
J: What does the sign say?
Me: The sign is asking for help.
J: What kind of help?
Me: I'm not sure, J.
J: We should call the police so the police can help them.
My sweet, sweet boy. He has such a big heart. We tell him that the police keep people safe and help people who need it. J thought the police could help these people who needed it.
My heart went out to these people. For them to stand on the corner of a busy intersection and hold a sign asking for people's help, they had to swallow their pride and risk being ridiculed. I imagine they are boldly putting themselves out there to ask for help as they felt they had no other options.
Were they really in need? Did they really need my money or someone else's money to make ends meet? Or were they just running a scam? Trying to see how many poor saps would stop and dole out their hard earned cash to them.
The answer is: I don't know. I don't know if these people really needed financial assistance or were dishonest people taking advantage of kind souls.
They looked nice enough. But how many times have we discovered that you can't judge a book by it's cover?
See, I choose not to help those people that day. I wasn't sure if they were really down on their luck or if they were trying to make some quick cash. Since I was on the fence, I decided not to help out.
So herein lies the question: If you are not sure if they honestly need help, do you help or do you not? I've been thinking about this question a lot lately as it has been weighing on my heart.
And this is what I think. You need to do what you feel led to do. If you feel led to help these people by giving them money, or food to eat, then that is what you should do. Maybe you will help them by praying for them. If you have a bad feeling about these folks or feel they are trying to scam you, then you should pass on giving them assistance. Or maybe you don't want to help for whatever reason and I respect your decision.
If these people are dishonest people and they're running a scam, then that is on them. They will have to carry that around with them. You do what you think is right regardless of what someone else does. You can't make people do or say the right thing. You are responsible for you.
Regardless of whether or not the people asking for assistance are honest, I believe that if you decide to help them, it shows you are a person of strong character and a generous soul. And I also believe you will be blessed for doing so.
Yes, there are dirt bags and scam artists our there. But there are also really good, decent people out there too.
In the end, do what your heart tells you.