Thursday, January 17, 2013

Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: Good Intentions

Those who have followed my blog have read about my dilemma about giving to beggars.  I do believe in helping those in need, but I don't really like to encourage begging.  In America, I fear that any money I give will go toward buying drugs or alcohol.  In China, it is much more complex of a problem because while I know people are poor, I have been told that most beggars have a "handler", and that the money they get doesn't go to themselves, but to the handler.  I try to take it on a case by case basis. If they are rude to me or grab me, or force their way in to my personal space, I tend to ignore them.  I really still haven't come to a full decision about how to deal with beggars on the whole.  I do give money to those less fortunate than myself, but I usually do it through the church, in a way that I know the money is being used for needs, not for drugs or alcohol.  But once in awhile I feel like giving, so I do.

The other day we went out to eat in a nearby shopping area.  We didn't eat all the food, so asked for boxes to take home the leftovers.  We left the restaurant, and were headed to our car when a man holding a small child approached me.  He came up and said, "Excuse me, but could I have your leftovers to feed my child?" I didn't even have to think twice about handing over the food.  Then as we were handing it over, he mentioned that he was from the country, and hadn't been able to find a job since he came to the city.  He said, "I'm not a typical beggar, I don't normally just ask for money."  I asked my husband if he had any change, and my husband gave him a few small bills.  We had good intentions of helping this man who seemed to be genuinely in need.

It was after we handed the man the money that I began to doubt his sincerity.  He took the bills and examined them carefully, with a look on his face that showed displeasure at the amount he had been given.  By chinese standards, what we had given wasn't a small amount.  His facial expression spoke volumes to me, and I could tell that he had deceived us.   It occurred to me that he would probably throw away the food as soon as he left us.  I also began thinking about how he looked too old to be the father of that child, but too young to be his grandparent.   But I knew that my intentions were right, and I decided to let God judge between me and him.  My intentions were right in wanting to help.

Or I could be wrong.  Maybe he really did need the money and food.  Maybe I misunderstood the look on his face.  We stepped inside a shop for a moment, and when we came back, the man was gone, but there was a security guard there looking for him.  I will never know if that man was truly in need, or was a professional beggar.  I will really never know if his intentions were good or not.  But I know that mine were.

Our other consortium members are surely full of good intentions.  Check out their blogs to see!

 RummuserAnuAshkokGaelikkaGrannymarPadmumMagpie11, andAkanksha,Will KnotMaria the Silver FoxAnkiNema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and RohitBlack watertownThe Old Fossil, our newest member MAXI! and last, but not least SHACKMAN! :)


Ursula said...

Delirious, once we hand over money it's for the other person to decide what to do with it: Drugs/Alcohol? So be it. It might be their last life line. Who are we to judge?

Either give or don't give. But please don't agonize over it - either way.


Grannymar said...

You cannot help everyone in the world unless you want to end up in the role of beggar yourself. So it might be an idea to put a sum of money in your pocket each day before going out and offer to buy a cup of coffee or food for a beggar you feel is genuine. The other way is give to a well known genuine charity that won't waste half of it on administration.

Delirious said...

Grannymar, I agree that we need to give where there won't be overhead costs. That's why I give most to our church. We have a lay ministry, so none of the money goes to pay a paycheck. It all goes to help people within our own congregation, at the discression of the Bishop. If we have extra, we share with the other congregations.

Maxi said...

You give from the heart D, and it's all that matters.

I have a saying: "If we do something for someone for any reason other than we want to … it's the wrong reason."

This relieves any doubt of our good deed.

Blessings ~ Maxi

shackman said...

Well D - I find myself in agreement with Ursula and Maxi - give from the heart and once you've given don't agonize over it.

Nene said...

I agree and I think that is the test God gives us - ARE we willing to give? What is in our hearts? How much or to whom, it doesn't matter.
I determine whether I give or not, depending on what I feel at the moment...

Rummuser said...

“I know what I have given you...
I do not know what you have received.”
― Antonio Porchia

blackwatertown said...

I think your approach is a good one.
You'll be better able to resist the scammer tugging at your heartstrings if you consistently give some other way - for instance through the church you mentioned. (Some people are so cautious they never give anything to anyone.)

But then there are times you decide to help individuals. Good. You're shrewd as well as generous, so perhaps that man's story was false. But perhaps not. Don't worry about I'd say.

I factor in a certain amount of deception and self-deception whenever I hand over money. I prefer someone making an effort to make it an exchange - playing music, drawing, selling te Big Issue (magazine for homeless people to sell) - rather than a simple handout.

I should also say that I had the huge good fortune to meet one of my older and best friends when he was living in a doorway. He's someoen on whom I now rely. So you never know how your action will have an impact - on you as well as the other person.