Monday, May 31

Homeless or Con-Man?

I would love to hear some comments from my readers on what your viewpoint is in regards to giving money to the homeless. I just finished directing safety and security for the NEXT Conference in downtown Baltimore, MD. For those of you who have never been to Baltimore let me take a moment to paint a quick picture for you. Over the last few years Baltimore has been in a competition with Detroit to be the murder capitol of the country. Two blocks away from the convention center transforms into a low income, poverty stricken, high crime, drug infested inter city paradise.

This part of Baltimore is no stranger to conventions and conferences; however, having a event that brings 3,000 young Christians into this high crime environment is something that the residents of this area are not use to. It only took one person from the event to open up their wallet before the news got out among the community of downtown Baltimore that there was a Christian conference in town. The way this was translated to this community is that there is an event in town with easy young targets. Over the course of four days this was proven true. The “homeless” population increased around the convention center as each day passed. Stories of hardship and famine were told to conference attendees as they passed by. What the attendees did not know is the side of the stories that I observed…

As I watched over the crowd I noticed that each story was tailored to it audience. The stories changed and were altered as the days went on. Naive kids were swindled and coned out of money. Some of the money was stolen right out of their hands, while another was given a fake $100 bill in exchange for smaller real bills that was suppose to be needed for the “bus”. Story after story, and con after con, the attendees still pulled out their wallets and gave money.

So my question to you is should they have done this? How does the Bibles command to care for the homeless apply to this situation?


  1. Matthew 10:16
    I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

    Luke 8:18
    Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."

    John 21:16
    Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

  2. I have been in these situations before. Often the people that I am with will tell them that we do not have any money available or offer to go with them to a restaurant, order them food, and then pay for it. This provides care and compassion without giving them an opportunity to con us out of money.