Thursday, December 3, 2009

Am I Miserly Liar?

Within the past week, I have been asked on the street by three separate people for "change" or "fifty cents." Each time, I have had fifty cents, but I have shaken my head and said "sorry." I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt each time. It is not that I don't want to give some money - and in other cases, I have given money to people who have asked me. But, in each of these cases, I haven't felt safe. I am walking somewhere, by myself, already gripping my pepper spray in one hand, and I don't feel comfortable coming within arms reach of a strange person on a street corner. What is the moral imperative here? Clearly, as Christians, we are supposed to help people in need. And if you are reduced to asking for change on a street corner, you are clearly in need. I don't know how much of that need fifty-cents will fill, but that is what they have asked for. I still don't know what to do.


Lizzie said...

I know exactly what you mean. I rarely give money to people that are begging unless I'm in a busy street. Even then, I don't like the idea that I work hard for my money only for it to be spent by someone else on alcohol. I know that my local homeless person spends her profits on alcohol because I see her buying it all the time! It frustrates me :|

Stephanie said...

Poverty and alcoholism often seem to be companions, and I'm not sure which direction the cause/effect relationship works.