Last week a story started swirling around Southern Ohio about a panhandler who used money people gave him to buy a flat screen TV. That swirling turned into a significant regional news story that many people have weighted in on over the past week. John Snavley is the panhandlers who is at the center of everyones recent attention & last summer, before he was making local headlines, I got the opportunity to have a conversation with John & like everyone else on the face of planet earth, John had a story.
The sad reality is that few people who have given their opinion on John will ever take the time to hear his story. This guy is a bum in their mind & nothing he could ever say is going to change that. He took their hard earned $2 & used it to buy a flat screen TV & shame on him for it they think! I can think of worse ways I’ve saved & spent my money, both the money I’ve earned & the money I’ve been given, but we have a harsher standard for others than we do for ourselves.
This post is not for those outside the church. This post is for those inside the church. Those who proclaim the love of Christ. Those who have been shown grace time & time again. Those who are reminded by Jesus Himself that we are NEVER to judge (Matthew 7). People on the outside aren’t held to the standard we are because people on the outside aren’t claiming to follow Jesus.
We might all have different opinions on whether or not to give a panhandler money. I have given John money & I will do it again because I’ve heard John’s story. The poor guy with the flatscreen TV deserves the same love & grace as the rich man with the flatscreen TV. We are all God’s children & I believe it’s time those of us who claim christ start treating our brother & sister accordingly. Our faith should cause us to see these types of situations differently.