Scary stories from a lovely place
Lately I have been battling over the ethics of giving to the poor, particularly for Christian people – as that’s mainly what drives my relationship with said demographic type. Yesterday afternoon I was in the kitchen drinking tea with my friend Lelethu when Stephen phoned to say that our neighbour had phoned because Kenneth, a member of Stephen’s homeless fan club, was outside our house waiting for him and could I go and speak to him? Sure, that’s my favourite thing to do while I’m drinking tea and jawing over the week’s events. I dutifully filled up a plastic bag with half a loaf of bread, a banana and two oranges as bribery and out I went.
Our last two interactions with Kenneth have been both peaceful and stressful; mine involved driving him around chatting about how Stephen is scary when he is angry, but then ended in me crying because I couldn’t find him a shelter with rooms and it was really cold. Stephen’s involved being hugged by a very hungry and very high version of this young man while the neighbours looking on were as freaked out as Kenneth. Yesterday afternoon he looked bad. Sad, very skinny, bloodshot, wild eyes, shaking hands, unmoving from my gutter. I’m sure he would have rathered a shower, a meal with meat, a lot of money and the ability to use it rather than the bread and fruit I handed over. Poor guy.
I’ve written previously about how I struggle to know how to help the variation of homeless and poor people that I encounter everyday. It isn’t straight forward, even though I really really want it to be. I’m working on a more detailed post about this because, like much of this blog, I want answers to something I’m confused about.
For now I want to gauge what other people think. So, tell me…. what do you think is the responsibility of a richer person to a poorer person? How does an active relationship with God and trust in Jesus effect this? How then should Christians view their own money and spending of it? Is it everyone’s responsibility to look after the poor, or just those who encounter them? Answer any of those, say anything. I need help because I am confused!