Today, while I was leaving RCIA, I was getting into my parents car (I borrow my parents car), when a car goes the wrong way through the small, albeit busy parking lot, parks on the passenger side of my car, and rolls down the window. Inside is a man driver and a woman passenger.
Then the driver says says that he needs money for gas to get to a town (which doesn’t actually exist to my knowledge), and that he went to the gas station, and no one gave him money. He also said that he needed to get to the bank in the non-real town to sort out issues. He said even coins would help.
I found the story a little suspect, so I told them either that I had nothing, or that I had no money (I can’t remember what I said exactly.) Afterwards, I told them I wish them luck, that they manage to get some gas money, and God Bless.
Did I sin by saying I had nothing, when I had a few dollars? (It’s my only money I have.)
By the way, the town that might not exist could have been me misunderstanding the guy’s words, and he may have meant a town that is about 30+ minutes away.
Knowing you tend towards scrupulosity, I do not think the prior post is all that helpful for you. It would be better to say you cannot provide monetary support at this time, or something similar.
You need not lie, but neither do you need to give money or tell people you have money.
The response you gave (which you cannot even really recall with accuracy) is not grave matter.
It is also a good idea to have a list of social services organizations with you and give a phone number or a number to the local police. Now that you are out and about on your own, you may encounter this in the future. It is a COMMMON SCAM.
You are a teen, by yourself, do not engage strangers who come up to you begging for money. It is not safe. There are many legitimate social services organizations to help those in need in almost every town.
I don’t believe that was was said rises to the level of sin.
It creeps me out when I am approached for money while walking or driving. Many of these people are young and apparently sound-bodied and could earn money if they needed some, and could have nefarious intentions toward me. And in my previous city, they were so numerous that I couldn’t help everybody if I wanted to.
In your position, I’d have shaken my head and continued on.
This is a common problem on Sundays at Churches. There is a group of them making the rounds at all the churches (various denominations) in the local environs.
Unfortunately, some of these people are scammers, and some are genuinely in need.
Next time, alert the priest or one of the Deacons to their presence, or ask them to come in and speak to the clergy. If they really are in need, they’ll go in and seek help.
If they say no, then it’s likely not a real crisis, but people who prey on people that they perceive are a soft touch.
Don’t lie, but tell them to seek assistance through the proper channels.
I used to try to do that, give to everyone who begged from me. I had a trail of beggars at my door, and a lot of them were lying to me. We had a guy who was using his worn out story for 10 years! We had another guy who pretended to be blind. Another guy managed to fake having one leg, was seen later walking about!
We’ve also even had drug users who, to get money for drugs, will cut themselves on purpose to look more pathetic. Some will put tourniquets on their legs and other such things to make them swell up, pour a purplish liquid on cuts to make them look nastier.
I had offered to help 4 different people who said they were homeless. I offered to pay for some medical treatment and to take them to a shelter. Not one wanted to do that.
I don’t think Christ meant we need to give our money to every panhandler there is, drunks, drug addicts. Some, if you give cash, will just use it for alcohol or drugs. I have learned I’m not savvy enough to know who is in real need and who is not. I mainly just give in Church, because they can sift through and find out the difference better than I could.
It can also be dangerous to pull your wallet out where they could take it.
I once went to the US, and I came back about 7 years later. Most of the same folks were still begging. Some with legitimate need, some not, most likely.
I’ve also given to people for a purpose, had it misused and the person in the same hole almost the next day!
What I do is pick a charity. My charity is visual handicaps, and I give my time there. That’s my contribution.
I normally don’t tell people I don’t have any money (because they would know I did anyway). I don’t think it’s sinful to do that. Sometimes, people need to hear that.
Here’s the catch: They were on the Post Office’s property. The Post Office allows parishioners to use their parking, as the church parking lot is too small, and the post office parking is closer to the rectory (RCIA is in the rectory), so I park there.
Mass was getting out around that time, so I think they drove over there to see if they could get any money.
I had a lady hit me up at Church last night for money. She said that she was driving from one town to the next (both real towns) and had stopped to gas up when she realized she forgot her wallet. She was clean cut and her story appeared genuine and she only asked for a couple bucks, just enough to get home. I gave her $20 and she said it was too much. So I think she was for real especially with her not wanting as much as I gave her. Scammers don’t usually try to talk you down. But in the end if she was lying to me, that’s really on her and not on me. I will choose not to give money if I suspect they’ll buy alcohol with it, because I don’t want to contribute to their alcohol issues. But I don’t mind going and buying them food.
Back to the OP- perhaps next time say you have no money to spare but regardless if what you did was a sin (and I think that’s debatable) it was venial. You were caught off guard, you didn’t have time to think it through. You don’t even remember what you said exactly. I think you’re fine.
Like it or not, we live in a dark world where bad people do bad things to good people.
It appears no one is considering the physical threat posed by these beggars to the very-much-alone OP. Further, sometimes folks’ entire modus operandi is to draw targets into conversation, whether to distract them or to “build rapport.”
Consider also that if the OP does anything other than leave, these beggars have been left with the impression that they can permissibly beg here in the future - perhaps from others less able to defend themselves.
Just because some person asks me for money, I am not obligated even to answer them, let alone actually give them anything. MHO the proper response should be “I’m sorry, I can’t help you,” as you put your car into gear. Suggesting OP give them money really shows an awfully “pure heart, empty head” attitude, that I’d wager has gotten people killed.
Would anyone want their teenage daughter to engage people like this? I certainly wouldn’t, particularly if they have a car. Remember: “They have a car” also means “they can follow me.”
Know what, OP? I thought you were but I was unsure. However, if your gender is relevant at all, to me that’s an acknowledgement that these folks presented some sort of threat - if they didn’t, no one should care if their daughter (as opposed to their son!) engaged them. You’ve rather helped me prove my point.
Indeed. Males can get hurt too. I just wanted to end any possible confusion.
One thing I would like to mention is that they might have been stoned. The guy was talking kind of funny, and he drove the wrong way in the post office parking lot, past a few cars just to park next to my car.
Another thing that makes me thing he was stoned is that there have been numerous drug busts in the county, and surrounding counties.
All the more reason to have absolutely nothing to do with them. Too many people think stoned just means “harmless.” It doesn’t. The different kinds of drugs these folks could have been on more than justifies having nothing to do with them.