Questions We Should Ask Ourselves

After I talked with Steve last week (see my previous posting–“Drama on Court Street”), I thought how I’d been affected by seeing him and then talking with him. I wanted to engage him, to see what he really wanted. I believe God expects me to respect everyone’s humanity, no matter their station in life.
When you see street people, very likely you feel an emotional response to them. Regardless if you verbalize your feelings, they confront who you are in relationship to yourself, to God, and to others. This can be difficult. First, we don’t like to be confronted, even indirectly. Second, the presence of the street people calls into question the depth of our “goodness,” for lack of a better word.
I’d like you to look at the following bulleted questions as if they were posed by someone living on the street. Decide if you would say “yes” or “no” to each question. (This is not scientific. I’m not an expert pollster; these are simply questions I made up.)
For each “no” answer, I’ve made an observation of what that answer might be saying about you (and me, too).
• Do you see me, or am I invisible to you? We shut out things and people we’d rather not deal with.
• Do I matter? It’s all about us. –or—That person’s pain is too much for us to bear.
• Do you see me as human? If we see “them” as subhuman, it’s easier to ignore them.
• Will you share with me? Consider your reason for saying “no”–you are stingy, insecure, judgmental or fearful –or–You have nothing to give.
• Can you take time out of your schedule? You and I may simply be too busy to give time to this needy person, which says something about you and me and our priorities.
• Do you object to my presence on the street? If we refuse the homeless a place on the street, we’ve taken away what few rights and bargaining power they might have.
• Do you believe I’m really in need? We can’t take a person at face value. –or—We’re not willing to suspend judgment. –or—We’ve become so cynical that we’re hardened against helping the needy.
• Do you think I’m deserving of a handout from you? When we say “no” to these unfortunates, we are judging them. True, sometimes that judgment tells us not to be enablers. Many of the so-called homeless are really con artists, preying upon the gullible.
• Do you care that I’m down on my luck? We want to care but we don’t want to be manipulated.
• Will you respect me even though I feel awful having to ask you to help me? We can’t suspend judgment of a person who can’t respect himself.
• Does my condition make you feel thankful for what you have? If we don’t feel thankful, it could be because we feel guilty for what we have.
Some questions don’t lend themselves to “yes” or “no” answers; following are a few questions we should still ask ourselves when confronted with people in extreme want.
1. What does God want me to do regarding this person? Every interaction is based on how we view God.
2. Do I really believe that person wants to be on the street corner?
3. Do I believe that person is getting what he or she deserves?
4. Why you and not me?
5. Does this person remind me of someone I care about? Do you have a loved one roaming the streets of some unknown city?
6. What does this person’s need tell me about God? about myself?
Throughout the Old Testament, the people are admonished to “care for the aliens, the widows and orphans (the fatherless).”
Tell me your thoughts. Tell me if you’d add other questions to my modest list.


About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
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2 Responses to Questions We Should Ask Ourselves

  1. Terry says:

    Sam, this is very well written and thought provoking, as was your previous post. It is so hard, because I really want to help people who need it. Several times when I’ve given money, though, I knew I had been taken for a sucker. Makes me not want to help the next person who asks. I’ve decided that when God prompts me to help, I will, telling the person that I’m helping because I love Jesus.

    • samuelehall says:

      Terry, good to hear from you! You hit right to the heart of the matter re giving, IMHO. Let’s look at it this way: As we are more and more in communication with the Holy Spirit, God will show us whether we are to give to this person or not. What they do with the money is between them and God; they will have to give account when they stand before the Ruler of the Universe.
      On the other hand, if we decide to always give to those who ask, a number of negatives could be possible: 1) We stop listening to the Lord in those circumstances because we’re on autopilot. 2) By giving our shekels to the first person who asks, we then have little or nothing to give to the second or fifth people who ask–and they may be the very ones who need it the most. 3) Impact on “the watchers”–the ones who stand to the side, unnoticed by us, but they see our foolishness and judge our faith as being an unthinking and shallow.
      I could go on with other scenarios but you get the point. Thru it all, those who trust God will be provided for by him. We likewise “are to cast our cares on him, for he cares for us.”
      A good study for both of us–dig into the Word; study what God says to us about giving; then share our knowledge with others.

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