Withholding “Good”

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you. – Proverbs 3:27-28

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It is common to be confronted by beggars in those countries (or parts of our own country) where poverty reigns. Public begging is common in these places and while I don’t begrudge true need, I more often than not resist the urge to give. It is difficult to know if you are supporting an addiction or reckless lifestyle or how much is too much. Shouldn’t a person be able to find work … somewhere … if he or she is healthy enough to be employed (unemployment is a virtual unknown in most developing countries). Even so, prompted by some sort of inner leading, I have (at times) responded with some sort of “donation.”

I still struggle with feelings of guilt, and wonder if am I wrong to ever reject or ignore a person in need? Perhaps, but my feelings highlight the tension many of us experience. Who truly needs our help and who doesn’t? Who is a scam artist and who isn’t? Is it easier to give my money, than to give my time or my life?

Could it be that the “good” I am withholding … and “due” to all without Christ … is not monetary at all?

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. – Mother Theresa

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