Sitting in a Mac Donald's today I looked out the window to see a young man walking from trash can to trash can looking for food. Bingo, he found some that someone else had discarded. I got to my feet and was headed out the door to offer him a sandwich. But before I got to the door another patron told me that he had already offered to buy him some food and the young man had turned him down. He was hungry but had too much pride to accept a helping hand. Perhaps he didn't trust us or was more comfortable with his life style than he was accepting help. But he was surviving. He didn't look ill or undernourished.
In Colorado they say not to feed the wild animals. The reason for this is that if you do they become dependent on humans and lose their instinct to hunt for themselves. In the wild they learn how to survive.
This may be equally important in the human species. Good hearts always want to help. There is a certain satisfaction to lifting up a brother. But at the same time we must be careful not to make the down and out more dependent than they are. This young man taught me a lesson today. Although I wanted to help him, he really didn't need or want my help. He had learned how to survive. Perhaps it's not the life that you or I would choose, but he seemed fine with it. He maintained his personal dignity by not accepting help.