Day 1: How Would You Respond to this Situation?

We talk a lot on this blog about the Good News of Jesus, and one of the great themes of this Good News is love. The Father loves and cares for us, and our goal is to love and care for others as we do for ourselves.

Loving and caring for others consistently does not come naturally to most of us; we have to think through various scenarios and try to decide ahead of time what kinds of responses are best—or at least I do. For me, this often comes from having an encounter with someone, reacting badly, and reflecting on it later. I have found, however, that over time responding well to situations becomes more intuitive as I internalize what it means to love and care for others.

Over the next few days, I will post five simple scenarios in which we can think about the best ways for us to respond. There are no right answers to these; only you can decide what you think your best response should be. These will be practical scenarios we all experience from time to time.

In preparation, you might wish to read a post from last year: Establishing Personal Guidelines for Loving Others. You might also want to review the post from the recent Good News series: We are not to Follow Burdensome Religious Rules.

Remember, there are no answers—only choices.

What do I do now?

Day 1: How Would You Respond to this Situation?

You are on the grocery store parking lot, and a stranger approaches you saying they have no money and are hungry. Can you help?

What is your response? Think about it. Give it some serious thought.

 

In this series:

Day 1  Day 2  Day 3  Day 4  Day 5

This entry was posted in behavior, Jesus, love, the Good News. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Day 1: How Would You Respond to this Situation?

  1. mike says:

    I could offer to buy them groceries or to take them to a restaurant for a meal.
    -mike

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  2. maria says:

    This has happened to me and I asked the woman what she needed, it was infant formula which I bought for her. I was not comfortable giving her cash because in this country it is not uncommon for beggars to be sitting outside the supermarket and you can never be sure what they are about.

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  3. Kit Sune says:

    As others have said, I would offer to buy them food. In my country, some beggars are actually trafficked people who have to give whatever money they got from begging to their bosses at the end of the day. By giving food instead of cash, I’m hoping I can truly help that person.

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  4. msh says:

    This is a common scenario where I live. First off I handle it by praying. When I see someone on the side of the road or in a parking lot asking for money I pray that God show me truth and help me discern the real need. Then I talk to the person. I ask them their story. Why are they there? How did they get to this place? Is lack of food the real issue? And finally what is their real need. When you take time to really connect with the person it quickly becomes apparent what their real situation is. For example one time I saw a young couple with a baby sitting outside a store. They were obviously homeless and the man was approaching people asking for money for food. I spent some time talking to them and asked them their story. It turns out that they had been lured to the area with promises of a job and better life by an unscrupulous person. When they got there their money was taken and they were abandoned and there was no job. Unfortunately they were in the country illegally and so they didn’t feel they could go to the authorities. They were honestly devastated. I asked what their needs really were and what they wanted to do. The young man said he just wanted to go home, he wanted to take his family back to his country. In our discussion it came out that they were Christians and he said he knew what he had done was wrong because it was illegal to come the way they had. He greatly regretted this and said it was so confusing because he thought God was providing a way for he and his family to prosper. He said he knew now that this was just his own thoughts, not the thoughts of God. We prayed together and then with the help of a friend we bought the family bus tickets back to where they came from. We received a note from them a month later sent from their home country telling us they safely arrived and he had found a job in their home town and they were grateful to God for His provision.

    And that’s really the core of it. It is God’s provision and we just get to manage it. We are called to manage it wisely and often that means being discerning as to the validity of the request and discerning the real need. I dont’ always give to people I meet. Sometimes it is evident they are not really in need of food, they just want another drink. And sometimes it is a scam. Once I witnessed a man sitting under an overpass with his “Homeless veteran. Anything helps God Bless” sign. He looked ragged and had his American flag with him. I was sitting in a parking lot near him. He had been there for a while then he got up, folded up his sign and picked up his ragged bag and walked across the street, around a building and got into a nice car and drove away. He was scamming people. Obviously doing well at it too. While extreme this does happen around my city with more frequency than one would think. And so praying and being discerning is very important. Talk to the person. Don’t just hand them money. Don’t just ignore them. Find the real need. Ask God to show you what that is and if you are the person to fulfill it. It might be that they just need someone to pray with them.

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  5. unkleE says:

    I have been in that situation several times. I think it is wise to be judicious, but in the end better to be ripped off than ungenerous. So I would probably do the same as Mike, but in some circumstances I may decide to do nothing (a hard decision, but we can’t do everything).

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  6. consultgtf says:

    To be very frank, No people of such sort have never approached me till date, I have asked this to myself many times, even when I stop my car during traffic signal, the person will approach the car in front of me and pass my car to rear car, but will never ask me…maybe they know I will never give, because I advise them not to do this, as God has given them every part of their body, so I ask them to stop begging and ask them find some decent job…
    Even if I give them few Rupees it will not suffice their needs for their… life long, THEN WHY MAKE THEM BEGGARS! by contributing few Rupees?
    If you, Loving and caring for others consistently they will take advantage of you, as they know that you are easy prey, they will take you for a ride! As they are ALSO HUMAN LIKE ME,

    What you are asking is a transformed world,

    This concept has been tried from past 2000 years, only in the first 100 years of its implementation it gave the desired results, as most of them, WERE AFRAID OF GOD! and were living a worthy life, But now we are techno savvy people who are living to SATISFY OUR SENSES ONLY, why should I bother about others? when I don’t even know who is my neighbor is!

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  7. This is often a very difficult one to call, and as you say there’s no cover-all right or wrong answer – it depends on the person and the situation. And with a stranger there’s always a danger of getting ripped off if we do give, or of missing a genuine need if we don’t.

    I certainly used to give far more generously and unconditionally than I do now – perhaps partly because I’ve become more cynical, or less convinced that direct handouts really help most of the time. And to some extent I used to give under compulsion, feeling I had to in order to be a good Christian.

    But then I come up against those uncomfortable words of Jesus about giving to all who ask you, and ‘I was hungry and you fed me, naked and you clothed me’ (or didn’t). So I don’t know really. If someone seems to be in genuine need and you have the time, then yes ideally it’s great to talk to them and find out more about what they *really* need – which may not be money primarily. But we can’t always do what’s ideal.

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  8. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Hey guys,

    I think you all did great on this exercise. You came up with a variety of responses which is excellent since, while this question is an important consideration, there is no ‘rule’ to cover it; we must think through what we should do based on our understanding of how Jesus’ principles of loving and caring for people best applies in our situation.

    Thanks for participating!

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  9. Pingback: Day 2: How Would You Respond to this Situation? | Jesus Without Baggage

  10. Pingback: Day 3: How Would you Respond to this Situation? | Jesus Without Baggage

  11. Pingback: Day 4: How Would You Respond to this Situation? | Jesus Without Baggage

  12. Pingback: Day 5: How Would You Respond to This Situation? | Jesus Without Baggage

  13. michaeleeast says:

    Jesus said to give to everyone who asks you.

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