A person in need is a person indeed
Course – Week 5 – Compassion
One of the ongoing debates in contemporary society is whether to give money to those who ask for it in the street. I recall last year a local newspaper report asking that shoppers do not give money to beggars. People were urged to donate to the organisations set up to serve street homeless people in the county instead.
Where do we stand on this? The assumption of the article was that most beggars are professionals. But how can we discern whether a person on the street asking us for money, head down, hands out, is genuine or not?
I agree that we should give, time or money, in a more constructive way. I try to do what I can with the homeless charities and various shelters where I live. I do give when I am able to. I give money when I feel it is appropriate, but I mostly give ‘things’ that are useful.
But walking past without a glance? I am not sure. I do try to stop and at least talk with the person when I know that it isn’t appropriate to give anything.
If we walk by thinking “Ah, it’s ok, I will donate to the charity”, it doesn’t show our Christian heart; the heart of Jesus. If this is our chosen action., perhaps we need to share that with the person concerned?
What would Jesus do in this circumstance? I think he would squat down and show compassion for the person behind the outstretched hands. Would He give money? Probably not as He had none. But would He give of Himself? Yes.
So, will you give
- a kind word,
- a cup of tea,
- food for the dog,
- a hastily purchased burger from the shop,
- asking (and then remembering) their name,
- stopping (and perhaps even sitting down) for a chat……?
At the moment, we can’t do most of these things as we’re only supposed to be out for essential shopping or work, and we have to maintain a requisite social distance. But we can use our time on lockdown to consider how we should show compassion in our communities – both our local community whilst we’re experiencing lockdown and social distance rules, and also how we might show compassion in future, when we’re out and about again.
We can’t offer any hugs at the moment, let alone free ones to strangers, but…
A person in need is a person in need of compassion
Image taken from www.freehugscampaign.org/