Have you ever been behind someone in the grocery line the first couple days of the month…they’re purchasing a LOT of food. And then, it looks like they’re paying with “food stamps” or whatever they call it these days, and your eyes immediately rake over their food choices. Are they buying healthy food, or junk? Sugared cereals, or healthy grains? Expensive cuts of meat, or cheap hot dogs? I’ve done that. I’m guilty. And I am ashamed for having done that. It’s none of my business.
I’ve had people make comments about what is in my grocery cart when I’m in the grocery store. Well meaning friends scrutinize my choices. The check out clerk might make a comment about some of my foods. It’s none of their business, and I find it embarrassing to have that done in the grocery line.
Often times, that person using food stamps is a young mother with one or more kids in tow. That’s none of my business either. I don’t know what kind of road she has had to travel to get where she is right now. I don’t know her circumstances, whether she has a chronic illness and is unable to work, cannot find a job, or has just made a series of poor decisions. Who hasn’t made poor decisions in their lifetime? Who am I to be making any kind of judgment about her life?
What I don’t understand is if we don’t have some sort of public assistance in our country, who is going to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves? Yes, I realize the system is taken advantage of by some and it was never meant to be a career choice or lifestyle. But what about those who genuinely cannot take care of themselves? What if it was your sister? Your grandmother? Your brother?
I hear folks get very heated over this, over “welfare”, and label everyone who uses it as a bum who should get a job. There’s a lot of stone throwing by folks who call themselves Christian, too. This saddens me, because I don’t think that’s what being a Christian is all about. And if you don’t feel led to help someone, fine, but don’t label everyone who needs help buying groceries. This is where love and compassion for our fellow man might be put to good use.
I really try not to judge, but I often fall short. I’m a sinner who is far from perfect. I also know it is only by the grace of God that I am not on public assistance. I do not take grocery money for granted. I don’t mind my tax dollars helping those who need help.
For those taking advantage or cheating the system, I’ll let God do that judging in his own time. In the meantime, I will try to keep my nose out of other folks grocery carts. It’s none of my business.