I think I’m getting grumpy in my old age. At a minimum I’m getting a little less tolerant, that’s for sure. I was driving around my small little town the other day and there must have been 5 pan handlers that I saw in different areas. Mind you, my town is not very big.
Now, I don’t know these peoples stories. They could be homeless. The could be addicts. I didn’t stop to ask.
What I do know is this, I work. I work a lot of hours. I spend a lot of time away from my family in order to provide for them. And the older I get the more I realize what the actual cost of that is. Not in dollars, but in time and memories. Time I don’t get to spend with my wife and kids. School functions I can’t attend. Games I can’t go watch. It’s the deal a lot of us have willingly made for my family.
I also pay my taxes. And I know that there are services available to help people in need. Not only through the government, but civic organizations and churches. Places these people can go that really need the help.
There is a part of me that keeps saying I shouldn’t judge. I don’t know their story. But when you see the same guy standing on a corner for two weeks straight with a sign I have to start asking, why isn’t he supporting himself just like I do? Where is his sense of personal responsibility? Why should I support that person, who obviously has no desire to go out and support themselves? If I hold myself to that standard then I should be able to hold them to it as well.
I know it’s not “Christian”. Thou shalt not cast the first stone and judge not. But at what point do I get to judge? How many people get to stand on a street corner and play on peoples charity before we all say enough is enough? How long will it be before we start telling people that they have to be productive, and there are no free rides? I don’t know the answer to that. But at some point we all have to expect a certain amount of personal responsibility out of each other. We should all be striving to live up the expectations of our greatest self.
I believe we should always offer our hand to help someone up. But we should do so with the expectation that they are striving to stand up and move forward, not sit back down and write another cardboard sign.