Good Samaritan or Ripped Off?

258As my husband and I were coming out of the church driveway yesterday, we spotted a woman standing next to the road. She held an unfolded sign which said “Abandoned wife, needs rent money, disabled.” She was very disheveled looking. For safety’s sake, we had to drive past her on the way out, but my husband drove the car around and went back to speak to her. He asked if she had gone up to the church to talk to the priest, and she said that she was waiting for a ride. He gave her some money.

We drove back up the driveway, and went inside the church. My husband told the priest about the woman. The priest replied, “Again?!”

I asked, “Does she really need help, or is she just collecting money?”

The priest said that he didn’t know.

As my husband and I left the church again, the woman was gone. We spotted her a minute later walking down the road; her sign had been folded up and put back into her pocket.

These are the kinds of things we come across in the “real world.” Part of us wants to help, part of us is afraid of being ripped off. Also, we wonder, “doesn’t she have social security or something?” We really don’t like to “get our hands dirty.”

I think in some cases, it’s best to pray and go with your gut. We both felt strongly about helping this woman. It wasn’t a real estate scam or a ponzi scheme. I think sometimes as Americans, we like to keep our distance. We stretch outside of our comfort zones when we help someone outside of our family.

I guess if I had it to do over again, I would have asked if she wanted a ride up the driveway to the church, and brought her in out of the cold and then see if we could do something to help her on a long-term basis.

Is our fear of being ripped off greater than our fear of obeying God?

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