Deuteronomy 15:7 – 11
7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, [in that] which he wanteth.
9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.
10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.
11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
I struggle with this daily. Not because I don’t want to give. If i have I share. Even if I don’t have I figure out how to share it is how I have been raised.
However where I live now it is not really the most wise thing to be so generous. My neighbourhood can be described as middle class residential. And in the Caribbean residential areas are unfortunately riddled with petty thievery or full on break-ins, robbery and very creative begging.
One day I went outside and to my horror there was this man intently rummaging through my garbage. Did I mention I was horrified?! I instantly called to him to stop and move away from the garbage bins and his response… “But I am hungry!”
I was crushed, I couldn’t fathom the depths you have to be in to not care where you get your meal as long as you could eat.
So I have three unsavoury, dirty and possibly mentally ill persons that come to my gate at least once a week and I give them a sandwich, a drink or a plate from the pot. I do this and I feel good but I also feel apprehension because as much as I want to help I also don’t want them to become too familiar or worse do something wacky like jump the gate and harm us.
My neighbours and the gardener don’t appreciate that I do this. Doesn’t help that it is the Christmas season and that means that crime tends to step up. Add an unfortunate robbery turned tragic and now even my family is No more giving food at the gate. No More.
Which brings me to my quandary. Wanting to give. to share . But not wanting to be used. And wanting to be safe.