In my human mind, I am beginning to be bothered about being kind hearted in nature. You are laser targeted to be taken advantage of because of one’s ‘good’ nature.

In my silly response, I don’t retaliate or charm my way to satisfy my flesh. Instead, I seek to respond against the grains of human knowledge and understanding. It hurts so much, but I choose to trust the LORD in that response.

In my gut-driven faith, I strive to please the LORD in my words, response and faith. I cannot help but feel compelled to consume my valuable time to serve others through Christ. I know there are certain stereotypes and interesting characters who I feel sap my *time, energy and money like a dehydrated leech.

I can discern when to pull out of friendships due to my inner squirm of a one-way friendship. I can also discern when to prevent myself from engaging in a furthering relationship and/or friendship. I am however, finding it more challenging to discern what is true when examining people, especially when we are called to minister to others. Unfortunately, there are individuals who are in the literal business to be provocative prodders of the human heart – and I am finding this element of life testing to my faith – time and time again. I have previously experienced such extremes inside the local church, and I have now experienced another extreme outside the doors of a local church.

I genuinely do not have the words to articulate this unique reflection. I have even shelved this reflection for over 2 weeks with a reluctance to post my thoughts. In short, I felt violated as a human and wish the LORD would quickly return. I very much anticipate Life 2.0 without the element of sin. It’s a shame we as Christian believers fail to excite others in God’s promise that there is indeed a place without sin… which I am sure everyone would genuinely desire to live and experience.

Storytime

I was heading eastward to my favourite independent coffeehouse, who take up to 10 minutes to brew a cup of mojo. As I was walking towards the shop, I realised the chairs had been stacked outside the shop but not yet setup. I thought I would buy the lone lad some time before walking in with the usual small cappuccino sitting-in request. I hobbled across the road to look at the pristine properties for sale at Slater Hoggs, before spontaneously deciding to walk further down the street to see the overpriced properties at Countrywide.

BIG MISTAKE!

Within seconds of looking at the glass front of Countrywide, I was confronted by mister scruffy. The irony of his request for loose change for a ticket to a known destination compelled my gut-driven faith to give my sole English fiver that I was clutching inside my trouser pocket. It was my money for a cup of mojo that I buy on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s the only introverted ’me-time’ space that I have during the working week.

When I gave my plastic Winston Churchill to mister scruffy, the bloke was full of gratitude. His eyes appeared genuine and heartfelt. His mouth gawked open like a decommissioned nude fountain. He even protested it was too much, which I thought was unusual. He shook my hands and I turned my back to look at the properties on the Countrywide shop window.

Scruffy stood beside me and asked what property appealed to me. I simply mentioned that I was hoping to turn over a new leaf with a view to settle down. Next minute the guy handed back Sir Winston and said ‘You need it more than me.’ I spontaneously protested and encouraged him that he should get home safely and catch his ride.

With a moment’s silence, he confessed to me that he is a professional beggar and makes 3-figures per day. I flinched without anger. My blood pressure didn’t elevate. I was too stunned to be judgemental. He even mentioned to me that he owns multiple properties in two countries. I can tally the exact details, but I’m choosing not to reveal.

And, of course, there’s obviously no reason to report him to the authorities because he belongs to an underground network. I mean, if they have unarmed police officers guarding the House of Parliament, what bloomin hope is there for the national police and British Intelligence to crack down on the underworld?

Anyhow, I unintentionally had a very engaging (and genuine) conversation with the guy who was strangely open to spill his work, life and family. His partner is curiously a fellow believer who attends a prominent local congregation that I know. It was strangely refreshing to better understand his motive, but sadly, he is living a lie. I even prodded him at every opportunity. Even he didn’t understand why he felt compelled to share his secrets of his trade. He revealed a disclaimer not to share his business with anyone.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Fast forward a week later and I encountered another professional beggar. This time, in Central Station. Now that I recognise the patterned lies and clever targeting on innocent-faced individuals, I counter with a lie in response.

Reflecting back on hindsight, I didn’t have a pound coin that he requested. I had previously spent my loose change, which left another crisp fiver in my wallet.

The Vulnerable Response

Is there a moral in the story? Well, sadly the rest of the world will cry over the carefully crafted images of the refugee children crossing the borders of Europe. The sad reality is that the more images you gaze with regards to those ‘refugees’ is that the crowd consists mostly of young men with scruffy beards wearing hoodies. Where are the women with the real children? Something doesn’t add up.

Psychologically, when one is pleading for help, why do you shroud yourself? People in genuine need tend to be more vulnerable, as they expose their humanity for help. Take for example homeless people. You can spot a genuine homeless person, as they often gaze into the abyss. Inwardly, they are mentally struggling to sustain that candlelight of hope. Outwardly, they are lost.

The genuine homeless tend to carry bags of clothes and rationed foods that they receive from local charities and passive donations. They are also more grubby looking. They also sit on the stone-cold concrete or folded cardboard on their bottoms. Since when do beggars or homeless people squat on their knees. You see. There is a difference and sadly it’s the image that plays on the human heart.

I know there are genuine homeless people used by gangs, which I suspect are used to fund underground networks, but also act as a drop-off centre for discreet packages. Would a criminal use the Royal Mail to send a dodgy parcel? When sending discreet packages, one doesn’t want to be tracked. It’s the same reason why those in organised crime will want to use encrypted applications on mobile devices with disposable SIM chips.

When I last visited Hong Kong in 2014, I can recall a very specific homeless person whom I remember from the previous time I last visited Hong Kong in 2006. How does that work? How can I possibly remember one stranger from a population of 7.4 million from an 8-year gap?

This gentleman is unique. He is genuinely crippled. He has no legs. In 2014, he has since learned to play a stringed instrument. Auld Lang Syne was the most recent song that he played. He is fortunately being sheltered. However, I don’t believe it’s of a registered organisation. For someone who has no legs, it always amazes me how he appears in random places throughout Hong Kong’s financial district in a single day.

Reality Check

The strange encounter with mister scruffy has made me reconsider the safety measures of the secondary component of this Kingdom focus vision, especially when protecting team members and accountability sake.

It has also caused me to consider approaching the Chief Executive of a major homeless charity, as I want to be knowledgeable and street-savvy of the culture in my local city. I may have the same conversation with another Exec of another branch of the same charity, as I had a lovely conversation with the guy when I was a student in expository preaching.

I want to be assured that I am indeed helping genuine folk in need and not creating opportunities for the underworld, who claim to be in refuge – yet drive around in fancy cars and own multiple properties.

*I know the LORD has given me time, energy and money to bless others (or waste for myself), and more importantly to grow in my relationship with Him.

I know the human conclusion is ‘What’s the b[expletive]y point?’ Despite the reality check, I cannot help but listen to God’s voice to reach out and be a witness for His glory and Kingdom Come.

~Richard