Some time ago, I was just approached by a (possible) homeless person in Starbucks who asked for $3 for bus fare. My first reaction was one of suspicion. No one else seemed to have been approached by this individual; just me. I said I had no change to which he responded… “…do you have $5….I can give you change”.
I said that I was sorry, but no I do not. He said ok and then left.
Now I am not adverse to helping those less fortunate than myself. In fact it is an integral tenet of my belief system. By the way, I checked my pockets after he left and I did indeed have $3 in change that I could have given him. To be honest, in retrospect I knew this when I was first approached. It was not until after this person left that it struck me that he actually asked if I had a larger denomination of currency to which he was willing to give change. I was not sure what to read into that. Was I being selfish? He may very well have been legit and really needed what he asked for. Regardless, it is a brand new month in a still brand new year and I will endeavour to show kindness to strangers in spite of any innate preconceived notions or biases on my part.
Sometimes I will get it right; sometimes I will not. Yes, you have to have a certain level of discernment, along with wisdom, when presented with scenarios such as this. The point is I will not stop wanting to show compassion, especially when unexpected opportunities arise.
“Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:1, 2)