TWO weeks ago, I travelled to Goroka from Kainantu. I caught up with friends and we hung out in town doing mostly just what ‘straight out of Uni job hunting young girls’ would do - eye shopping and people-watching.
The sun was hot so we decided to stop for Ice cream at Bintangor Trading, just opposite the Bird of Paradise Hotel.
On our way out with our Ice creams, we were approached by a scruffy looking young man. He asked if we could help him with a kina. We said, “Mipla nogat mani ya, mipla no wokmeri” and we walked passed him. We don’t have money, we’re not working women.
He turned around and replied, “Olsem Matthew 7:7 tok ask and you shall receive olsem na mi askim tasol”. Matthew 7.7 says ask and you shall receive and I was just asking.
The sad truth is that it is not only scruffy looking people on the streets who use the Bible to beg. I know of a strong Christian family, who faithfully attends church, who go from house to house asking for money and food, each time quoting a bible text or two.
I’ve also come across many families in Papua New Guinea who think they can quote the bible and be given things on a golden bowl. People think they can easily make someone feel obligated to the Bible. It is a common misunderstanding that only encourages nothing but laziness.
Obligation to the Bible is an individual choice. You shouldn’t be forced to feel or think that it’s compulsory.
Beggars sit on the street, enter people’s houses or approach shoppers expecting to be given hand-outs based upon this misinterpretation.
Yes, the Bible teaches us to share and help those in need but it also teaches against laziness. It’s all in the Proverbs.
The Bible also gives us the power of choice. So sharing and helping those in need is one’s own choice to make. You can choose either to help others or not.
The choice is in your hands and not in the hands of those who wrongly perceive the teachings of the Bible.