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The greatest temptation we as Christians face is to do nothing at all. For every good thing I do, now there are ten that I don't. And, The Good That I Do is weighed against how much hell I am sure to catch for doing it. All of which makes me wonder how much other good is not being done, how many other people have thrown their hands up and said, “Not worth the hell.”

I've got a friend who used to call me Bruce Willis.

He called me that, because, at every opportunity that someone needed help or seemed to be having any difficulty at all, I'd go leaping into action, usually uninvited, sticking my nose in and offering my help and opinions. I had a hard time saying no and gave tirelessly, day after day, of my energy and resources to be, I guess, a super-hero. To save the day. And, I explained to him, my rationale for doing so was the scripture found in the fourth chapter of the book of James. My friend said yes, he understood that, but there needs to be practical limits and wisdom applied to every given situation. Yesterday some guy came up to me and asked me for help. He didn't want help, he wanted money. My instinct was to just give it to him, after all this could be an angel in disguise. But then the guy ran his con a bit too far, and I realized it was a con. Actually, I knew it was a con from the very beginning, but I'm sure angels run cons every day (heck, I saw Family Man). I might have given him a couple bucks merely for the sheer entertainment value of the scam, a standard Trying To Get Home sob story about needing bus fare to Aurora because his car broke down on the highway.

Only, he was standing in a shopping center some miles from the nearest highway and, had he been trying to get to Aurora he could have/would have remained on the highway, rather than allow some good Samaritan to drive him five miles away from it, leaving him stranded in a shopping center. Even so, I'm thinking, the guy put some effort into the script, and for a moment I wavered on whether or not to give this guy a couple bucks, knowing it was going for booze or dope. So I thought to pray with the guy or drive him to a shelter but then I thought this is a pathological, professional liar, and likely not someone I should be alone with or certainly driving around. Then the guy added onto his story that he was in a hurry to get to Aurora because his daughter has Leukemia and he's trying to get to the hospital. See, here's where he just insulted my intelligence, and I got angry. I started to scream at this guy and threaten to call the cops, but instead I just dropped my head and wondered do I really look that gullible? I counted to three and quietly told the guy no, and left before I started screaming at him.

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Then I felt guilty all day because I didn't do what I really should have. I didn't reach out to the guy, not in ignorance but in love. At the very least I didn't attempt to infect his conscience. I just wanted to get away from the guy, from this hideous person insulting me, saying “You look like a pigeon.” And, in my anger, I really wasn't able to be much help to him or, frankly, of much use to God.

Bruce Willis had left the building.    CONTINUED

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