Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why this poor, hungry man never considered stealing

It was about 1999.  I was taking a walk along Woodward, a large boulevard near my house. Also near Woodward is a motel that offers cheap monthly rates, and this is a place where people with no homes can stay.

An older black man with a shabby coat but dignified air was walking in the same direction as me, so we got to talking, and we found we were both going across Woodward to the McDonald's there.  After about 10 minutes of socializing, I discovered that he lived with his family temporarily in the motel, and was barely making it from week to week while trying to find a job.  He never did ask me for anything.  But he spoke of God. (He didn't know I was a Christian, but nonetheless spoke very comfortably and without embarassment; proudly even, as if he belonged to a royal family despite his current living situation.) 
Not the real man. I didn't have a camera with me.
But he looked like this, content and sure.

He said that some of his acquaintances at the motel use the approach of trying to scam people out of money, and some even steal to feed their families.  But he said that's not an option for him, because he didn't want to do anything to damage his relationship with his Lord. And he was not surprised that the Lord made things just barely work out week after week.

I was impressed.  I decided to help him continue working things out in this way for perhaps another week, and gave him some money.  He had given me something in return.  He gave me a memorable example of how strong faith can help you turn aside temptations to do immoral things for short term gain.

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