The story I’m about to tell happened today and a part of me wishes it had not happened. It takes me back to a saying I heard once, “To love the world is easy – it’s the jerk down the road that’s the problem”
When I first saw him, he was at the far door, asking anyone who came out if they had any spare change. This man was what one may consider an aggressive panhandler, as I could hear him trying to shame people as he followed them to their vehicles in the parking lot.
Praying to myself, I hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with him. But true to God’s nature, he tasked me with exactly that the instant I opened my mouth and asked for deliverance.
My sense of humor is nowhere close to God’s and his idea of deliverance is a far cry from mine.
“Gotta quarter?” the panhandler said in a loud voice.
“Sorry,” I answered, trying to match his volume in both speech and character. “I don’t have any cash on me.”
Undeterred, he continued, “But you jus’ bought something – so you gotta have some money.”
“No,” I shot back as I readied my key to get in my truck with the idea of a quick escape.
“You’re a liar,” the guy declared.
Caught off guard by such an accusation, I glared at him and replied, “Tell ya what, I’ll give you one of my shoes – but only one.”
“What the hell do I want with a shoe?” he asked with great incredulity. “That don’t make no sense.”
I smiled, though I felt more like knocking his teeth out of his head, and stated, “I don’t know. It makes as much sense as calling a man a liar when he really doesn’t have money.”
There was a long pause before I added, “Like most folks, I only have a debit card. That’s all I carry.”
Angry with me, he snarled, “Fuck you, then!” He stomped off leaving me alone to get in my truck.
While I don’t know if my treatment of the panhandler was right or wrong, in the end his reaction did remind me of Proverbs 9:8, “Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.”