Helping out those in need?

Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:17-18: If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Yesterday morning, as I arrived at work early, I was approached by a woman in a truck that had pulled up beside my car in the parking lot. As I got out of my vehicle, she said, “Sir, I’m sorry to bother you but I need some help.” She gave me a well crafted story of how she gave an acquaintance, a ride to a local grocery store. She said that as the other woman was getting out of her car, the passenger snatched her purse that was on the seat between them, then got into another car and sped off. She said that all of her money was in that purse.

The woman told me that she needed some gas money to get back to Winterville (a small town a few miles outside of Athens) because her car was just about out of gas. I looked and saw that the needle was almost on empty but I was skeptical of her story. I asked her if she had any friends or family that could bring her some money or gas. She said that she had just moved down from Michigan and she only had a brother that lived in Winterville, however she was unable to reach him on his phone. I asked her if she had called the police to report the theft and she replied that she did but that she would have to go to the police station and file a report.

I told her that I couldn’t help her and that I needed to go inside my store. She said that if I could just give her a few dollars so that she could get some gas that she would come back and repay me before the day was over. So I said, ok, here’s a few dollars, that’s enough for you to make it back home. She said, “God bless you sir, you don’t know how much I appreciate this. I’ll be back later on today and repay you.”

I have to admit that as I walked into my store, I began to judge the woman. I knew that her story was fabricated and I assumed that she was probably going to use the money to buy drugs. I felt certain that she had been approaching people all morning until she had scrapped up enough money to buy her drugs. Over the next few minutes, I became somewhat angry and upset with myself for being duped by such a fairly obvious lie. I wondered how I could be so stupid as to fall for a scam like that.

Then, all of a sudden, I had a moment of revelation. Up to this point, it had not occurred to me that I had helped out someone that was supposedly in need. God made me realize that I did the right thing by helping this lady out. If she was lying about her need for the money, then that was on her and she would have to answer for that. I said to myself; let it go, if this lady lied, it’s on her. And suddenly all of my anger and resentment just went away. It was as if God was saying, just let it go.

Society, and most of you would say, how could you fall for a story like that? And that’s exactly what I said to myself until God helped me to realize that I had goodness in my heart and I just needed to let it go. I am beginning to realize that God is at work more often that I realize in my life. There are many areas in my life that need work and I believe that this was another moment that God used to teach me a lesson about forgiveness and compassion. Thanks be to God!

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