"I have always found mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice." ~Abraham Lincoln
We saw her on our way into Wal-mart. She was sitting on a bench eating a carton of watermelon. A shopping cart held a large grey bag. She didn't look like someone who you'd see on a Wal-mart bench with her belongings nearby. Her nails were neatly done, and her blond hair was curled and combed. She looked as if she were in her early 40's. An hour later as we left the store, she looked at me and asked, "Hey, are you all going near the Turnpike?" Joseph didn't hear her, but I did. I nodded my head and said, "No."
Joseph then asked what I was saying. "That woman wanted to know if we were going by the Turnpike." "She did?" he asked. My first thought was that she was a hitchhiker. Then I said to Joseph, "She's local. I mean, if I weren't from around here I'd be calling the Turnpike I-35." "I should have asked her a few more questions," I thought out loud. It isn't that I don't want to help. I wish that I were a little less jaded. There have been times when I've known when to help my neighbor when the Spirit directed me and intuitively, I knew. Most of the time I've felt this longing ache that I wish I were able to think the best of people and known what to do with their requests for mercy. Some people will just take advantage of others generosity. But does that mean we should not do justly, and love mercy? We aren't responsible for others or their reactions and responses. We are responsible not to be stupid and at the same time to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. We are responsible for our own actions.
Do you struggle with giving, doing, or helping because you are afraid you will be taken advantage of?