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Tough Decisions- Trusting people

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message 1: by Judy (new)

Judy Friday I came out of Salvation Army after hitting all the local thrift stores. I was ready to head home with only two more stops on the way. A little girl came and said her mom needed a ride because they had a big battery to carry. I was torn and told her Surprise was the opposite direction of Peoria. But I was pulled in my heart to go see the mom. There were 5 people all together and I could not tell if they were kids or adults. They had a small car battery and I asked where they got it. The store row by me was Salvation Army and some empty stores and then Big Lots and maybe something else. She pointed across the street at the Auto Zone. I was struggling so much but I felt pushed and intimidated. So I moved all my books to the back of the car and kept my purse next to me while they hopped into my van. They only needed to get to Peoria Ave which was a few blocks down. When she had me turn down a side street I was a little nervous yet. There was a white van and they all piled out and the kiddies said their thanks. I went home.

Today at our small home church I told the story. Josh is a cop. He told me how many reports they get. Women holding a small baby asking for help while a man comes up and robs the people or takes their car.

I am so saddened that you can't just help people without fear. I guess if I am ever in this situation again I would have to tell them no. It hurts me to even think that but after I pondered it all today I realize I could have easily been overtaken. My case was real and they did need help.

I just wanted to relay this, for warning and because it still weighs on me. As I was reading the posts about authors getting hate mail I was just reminded of our changing world again.


message 2: by JanetTronstad (new)

JanetTronstad Author Tronstad | 2759 comments Mod
Judy -- sad to say, we do need to be cautious.


message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy After Josh chided me I said a prayer of thanksgiving, believe me. I'm just so torn.

I know alot of people like to give people money on the corners of the road, thinking it is Christ-like but someone had an Uncle who was homeless for awhile and he said never give them cash. They just use it for drugs or drink. I already gave someone food in Chicago and they looked at it like it was disgusting. I wish I'd kept if for our lunch :-).

Just hard to be kind and giving, doing as Jesus would do in a world that has mastered deceit and using children to do so.


message 4: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jennafraugh) | 4102 comments We were just talking about this in Sunday School. I think as women, it's a lot different to help someone out than it is for a man. We tend to be the "weaker sex" and therefore become easy prey for things like this to happen, when we are just doing what God commanded us to do...take of the orphans, widows, and the poor.


message 5: by Judy (new)

Judy Although it can go both ways. Josh (the cop) was telling me of things he personally knew happened with friends picking up hitch hikers. Our own son has picked up people off of Craigslist- ride shares- I'm always relieved to here when he made it safely from place to place. But your right Jennifer I do think they probably would go more for women to pull things off on, partly because some of us run more on emotions. If I seen someone in this 115 degree heat holding a baby, my heart strings would pull.


message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jennafraugh) | 4102 comments Judy wrote: "Although it can go both ways. Josh (the cop) was telling me of things he personally knew happened with friends picking up hitch hikers. Our own son has picked up people off of Craigslist- ride shar..."

Most definitely!


message 7: by Ausjenny (new)

Ausjenny | 4954 comments It got me thinking back maybe 25 years ago I took was offered a ride in Melbourne to the train station cos it was hot and I was walking. Didn't think anything of it being a country kid and all. It was fine but no way would I accept it now.
Im glad it worked out for you its hard to know who to trust these days.


message 8: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 518 comments If I come across someone asking for money because they say they are hungry, I often offer to go to a nearby restaurant and/or store and buy them a meal. If they are really hungry, they would accept. If they want cash for other things, they say no.


message 9: by JanetTronstad (new)

JanetTronstad Author Tronstad | 2759 comments Mod
Even people in need -- it's sometimes hard to know what to do. A few years ago, I saw an older woman asking for money outside the grocery store. it was cold and damp and I stopped and talked to her, asking her why she came out on such a bad rainy day and if she had a dry place to go. She said she lived nearby but she'd used all of her social security money for the month and needed more. I asked her how much she expected to earn for the day and she said twenty dollars. I surprised her by reaching in my purse and bringing out a twenty dollar bill and telling her to go home, out of the rain. She thanked me profusely and left. I did my shopping and left. I was making something at home though and no sooner had gotten back then I realized I'd forgotten something I needed for the recipe. I live very close to the store so I went back -- and saw that the older woman had returned to the store. It was raining even worse by then and she tried to hide when she saw me, but I realized that all I had taught her was that she'd get more money by begging in the rain. I had done her no good and pssibly had done some harm.


message 10: by Judy (new)

Judy How disheartening Janet. They say many of the street corner folks actually have more money then most of us. Many of made quite a career out it. And most seem to find when they put "God Bless You" on the sign that it helps. When I was about 18 I worked on the outskirts of a very bad Chicago neighborhood. They would say if you entered there you would not come out alive. I would sometimes give one of the guys a ride and I was safe while he was in the car. There was a cute little girl who came in all the time. I brought 3 bags of clothes from home. She came in and took 2 of them and after some time I took the 3rd bag out of the car. She came in and demanded the last bag of clothes. I was so sad and it I allowed it to steal my joy.


message 11: by Camy (new)

Camy (camytang) I'm so glad you're okay, Judy! That could have been a very dangerous situation. Sadly, we do have to be cautious these days, especially as women.


message 12: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (JillianHart) I remember back when I worked in downtown Seattle there was a study done (I want to say it was one of the newspapers, but I could be wrong) on the average panhandler on the city streets. They rake in 40,000 tax free bucks a year. The receptionist in my office saw one beggar lady take her bowl and her "God Bless You" sign, hop into a new BMW, kiss the tie-wearing dude inside and they drove off together, her job done for the day. We stopped giving her $ after that (she sat outside the door to our office building most days). That opened my eyes.


message 13: by Judy (new)

Judy Thanks Camy. I was nervous during it but when Officer Josh got going on the reports he takes and such it really rattled me.

Jillian- hhmm maybe it is time to go find a corner (just kidding, I'd rather have less money and be honest).

So many Christians are torn with the giving money to beggars and that one seems more obvious to me.

The same day I gave that lady a ride I did give a gal a ride to Safeway. She works there and she was walking and all hot and sweaty. Much safer since I at least know her name since we often walk to that store!


message 14: by Jillian (last edited Jul 04, 2011 03:29PM) (new)

Jillian (JillianHart) I give to places like Salvation Army, etc, who have programs to help the people in true need. : ) But I always feel I should do more.

Judy, you are such a good person. : )


message 15: by Judy (new)

Judy Thanks Jillian although I don't think of myself like that.

I did find when mom was dying of cancer that I had compassion and it surprised me. On the other hand I can be very uncaring. Like when people complain about being broke and yet can afford things like all the extra cable channels. I don't even want to hear it.


message 16: by Ausjenny (new)

Ausjenny | 4954 comments I have heard its better to actually give some groceries or offer to buy them something if they are genuine they will accept it if its for other they wont. I often get asked for money for a bus ticket to get home. I dont often have much cash on me when I am in the city. so say sorry I dont have change.
The interesting thing is often the ones who really need the help dont ask. there is an old guy in the city who I see everytime walking the streets (certain areas) same clothes and he is definitely homeless but he never asks for a handout.
Its sad people who ask are often not in real need.
Its seems alot of people who could really use the help dont ask. Even in a church often the ones who make the most noise about being poor or not having alot get the help but are not really the poorest in the church. We have one of these ladies that I know and gets so many handouts but can go to bingo and pay around $30 a week on this, remodeled a room at home etc but says she cant pay bills etc. It gets frustrating as I know a few others who are worse off but they dont complain or say anything, they are careful with there money and will go without rather than asking for a handout.


Laura AKA Loves 2 Read Romance | 909 comments It is a sad world we live in today. So many people take advantage of others. I use to work at a hotel in town during the 11 pm to 7 am shift. We once had a guy come in who said he needed money to buy a belt for his car at the Walmart. Neither myself or the other clerk had any money on us which we told him. He then tried to get us to open up the cash drawer and give him money out of that! I couldn't believe he asked us to do that. He finally left but came back with the same story a few months later.

The other thing that gets me are the people who abuse the welfare system. They don't work get food stamps and medical and can afford the newest cell phones and latest styles. There are actual people who do need help and because they are honest about how much they make they end up not qualifying.

I am glad that you were okay Judy and that those people actually needed a ride.


message 18: by Judy (new)

Judy I agree with Jenny that people who do need usually don't ask. I also seen people go from church to church "using" them to support them.

Our Pastor in Indiana would offer to let people work by pulling weeds, etc if they came asking for hand outs. Many turned and left. If they did work he had it so they could get a meal at the local restaurant and maybe something with a local motel.

Laura- agreed on the welfare issue. I seen it abused in Chicago. People would pull out a roll of $100's and their friends would say to put it away cuz they had food stamps. Twice in our life we had to use food stamps due to my husbands health issue. I found it humiliating because I had seen it abused. And I bought things that if it were my money I wouldn't have but they give you alot to spend!


message 19: by Patsy (new)

Patsy | 217 comments I'm sad to say I don't give people money or help someone on the side of the road. I never give anyone that I don't know a ride either. Strickly for the fact that people are so mean now days. It's sad really. I do help through my church. We support a couple of organizations and if we hear of a family in need we help there. And I totally agree that the welfare system is being abused.


message 20: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jennafraugh) | 4102 comments Barbara wrote: "If I come across someone asking for money because they say they are hungry, I often offer to go to a nearby restaurant and/or store and buy them a meal. If they are really hungry, they would accept..."

That's what I do! Safer and you know the ones who really need it.


Laura AKA Loves 2 Read Romance | 909 comments Judy I like the idea that your pastor had people work to get help. It helped show who really did need the help. The world has made everyone think that they should get things because they are owed and we wonder why kids seem to be getting lazier. We need to show them that you have to work to get what you want.


message 22: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (lyncote) | 1644 comments Mod
When my kids were little, they saw a man by the road holding a sign WILL WORK FOR FOOD. They wanted me to stop and give him some food. I told them that if he wanted food or work, plenty was available and named off all the organizations that would help him if he asked. I consider it a scam.

We are to be as gentle as doves but as wise as serpents.


message 23: by Paula-O (new)

Paula-O (kyflo130) | 2257 comments I dont like all the negatism I am hearing here, there must be a way to help those that truly need help. I have given money to those on street, I think of the Bible and the stories of God helping those in need and how he tells us to help others. we can not harden our hearts, surly we will have protection that we need if we help others as he wants us to.


message 24: by JanetTronstad (new)

JanetTronstad Author Tronstad | 2759 comments Mod
Paula -- I say yes and I say no. I would not agree that anyone should place themselves in danger because someone asked for help in a non-emergency situation -- such as, please help me put these groceries in my van over there or please give me a ride here. Too often these pleas for help are questionable. If one truly feels led to help, there are often other ways. I have heard that asking for help to put something in a van is a trap and the quickest way to resolve it is to offer to call someone else to help or to ask a security officer in a mall for help. Often, if someone else is coming, the need suddenly disappears and the people take off. Or, a big one we hear in Los Angeles, is that I need money for gas to go visit a relative in the hospital. But a quick question or two will reveal they are nowhere near a hospital and don't even know which one their relative is in so couldn't get there anyway. I do agree it is unfortunate to be suspicious. But, while I do think God protects us, He doesn't want us to be foolish. I do at times give out money to people that ask if I believe they really are in need. The last time I gave a man some money though I saw him later in the grocery story buying a beer. Some of this may depend on where we live as well. I'd be more likely to give someone money in the rural area where my parents live than in Los Angeles. Partly because there are so many ways for people to find official help here that there is no need to beg on street corners. it is more difficult to find institutional support in a rural area (although I seldom encounter anyone begging there).


message 25: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 518 comments Paula wrote: "I dont like all the negatism I am hearing here, there must be a way to help those that truly need help. I have given money to those on street, I think of the Bible and the stories of God helping t..."

Paula, I don't think people necessarily mean to be negative, just cautious. Janet is right, you do see lots of scams in big cities. (I live in Indianapolis.) That's why giving them a meal instead of cash is often good, but I also applaud those who give them cash for the generous spirit of giving they show. I know my church helps many people who call each week, but instead of giving them cash we let them choose food from our pantry for their family or bring in a utility bill so we can pay it directly. Then help is given in a wonderful way, without doubts. The church, and the Christians making up the church, does need to do its part, and probably more often than we do.


message 26: by Judy (new)

Judy I did not mean to be negative, maybe just a warning I did not think about until I seen how concerned Josh became at church. I wanted to pass this on as a warning because I want to help people as well but maybe the best way is through organizations or better yet your local church. Unfortunately alot of people asking for money do misuse it. The guy in Chicago who gave me a disgusted look when I gave him a granola bar had it down perfect, he only asked everyone for .25!

I think many of us as Christians do struggle with what is the right thing to do and I liked what Lyn quoted best:
We are to be as gentle as doves but as wise as serpents.


message 27: by Ausjenny (new)

Ausjenny | 4954 comments Janet you dont see it as much in a country town. Here they go to the some of the places that will help although they dont give money they give food, clothes etc. We have a major pokie issue here and alot will spend there money there. Here our welfare gives money not food stamps. Although its nice Its not a huge amount and can be hard to live on but it can be done well. Alot will play the pokies and thats where alot will go. In the city there are some who work the city and it has been widely mentioned in the papers and other venues that alot of the beggers in the city its better to not give money and to be careful as many will get aggressive and abusive. It isn't as bad now but it was bad for awhile with many people being injured when they didn't give money.
My friend was on food stamps and really struggling with 3 children and an ex who wouldn't pay any money she even had her gas and electricity turned of for a summer. She said it was the best thing to happen as it drew her nearer to God. But that Christmas they didn't have money for gifts but she wouldn't ask the Salvation army for gifts for the children as she thought there were others way worse of than her. She now has a good job and is able to give back to others.
We have stopped to help people on the side of the road who are broken down or in trouble. You have to be careful but I guess its part of the country spirit.


message 28: by Judy (new)

Judy Jenny- was is a Pokie?

In these days of cell phones people broke down on the side of the road are not so "stuck" as it would be in the "old" days, amazing what technical advances have happened in my 50 years!

Hubby and I did go and help someone some weeks back and tears came to my eyes as someone else stopped as well. In Arizona our summers are HOT. This day it was in the lower 100's probably. We passed a man and I told hubby he was stuck on the sidewalk so we twirled around some back roads to get to him. He was in an electric wheelchair. Another car had stopped as well and that man and Jerry lifted the wheelchair- which was half on and half off the sidewalk curb. It escapes me what syndrome the man might have had. I have a young man who comes to the Spring Training games who has it as well. They love their independence but do need help at times.


message 29: by Ausjenny (new)

Ausjenny | 4954 comments The pokies are poker machines or slot machines. most towns here have them which is a pity.

Oh here there are so many areas in the rural area cell phones don't work. even close to my town here there are areas where the cells just dont work. I went to a town about 2 hours away and about half of the area had no cell coverage.

Here I have been offered rides when I am walking by people I only know by sight which is so cool. its amazing how the country people will still offer help. I think you can tell a country person from a city person here.


message 30: by JanetTronstad (new)

JanetTronstad Author Tronstad | 2759 comments Mod
Country folks do help their own -- I know that's true in Montana. And, you're right, you can tell.


message 31: by Eva (new)

Eva Hamilton (goodreadscomevamariahamilton) | 202 comments Judy I am so glad you are okay! I started getting anxious for you just reading your post. It breaks my heart not helping people, but times have changed. Unfortunately wolves in sheep's clothing do exist and we must beware.

However I love helping people and would urge everyone to help people in ways that don't put their lives in danger: giving to charity, volunteering, etc.

Janet, your story about the lady remaining in the rain for more money is sad.


message 32: by Judy (new)

Judy This whole topic has been worthwhile I think. As a warning but also to help us think what we can do. I know our small home church supports several missionaries since we have no overhead. One of them is our local Phoenix Rescue Mission. I believe it is just as important to check into these places before giving blindly as well, I know that sounds negative but... it can be true.


message 33: by Eva (new)

Eva Hamilton (goodreadscomevamariahamilton) | 202 comments I agree Judy! :)


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