I moved to this great city of Chicago almost seven years ago. It has been quite an adventure, in every sense of the term. This is the first time I've ever lived in a "big city" for this length of time. The last time was when I lived in Oslo, Norway for two years. Oslo is considerably smaller than Chicago.
This is my quandry:
I am constantly being approached by people wanting "money." I can hardly get on the bus every morning without being approached by at least one person telling me that he/she is hungry and wants something to eat. The evenings aren't always as bad, but sometimes it can be even worse in the afternoons/evenings.
Panhandling is supposedly illegal in the Windy City...but nothing is done about it...but that's another post.
In the seven years that I've lived here, I have:
*offered to buy them food, and have them reject my offer.
*offered to buy them food, and then watch them throw it away as soon as they could once I've given it to them;
*offered to get them to a homeless shelter (usually Pacific Garden Mission), and have them make excuses as to why they can't go there.
I've never given them money--and right now, I have no intentions of doing so.
I'm particularly troubled by the words of Jesus as He instructed His disciples in the Gospels concerning those in need. I don't want to be classified with the "goats" in Matthew 25.
I am truly concerned about those in need. I will buy food for just about anyone--if I have the money to do so. I've been hungry, and it's not a good feeling. But I also don't want my generosity to be abused, and I've seen that it has been on more than one occasion.
I'm in a quandry over this...What say ye?