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"No, we can't. Jesus said, 'ye have the poor with you always.' But, He went on to say, 'whensoever ye will ye may do them good.'"

"People like them deserve what they get, Hannah!"

"We all deserve what we get, except when it comes to mercy. Mercy is something we are not worthy of, and yet receive. Remember Jenny, 'for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.' If that's not mercy, I don't know what is." Jenny remained silent. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart... and thy neighbour as thyself," quoted Hannah, thoughtfully.

"And just who is my neighbor?" retorted Jenny sarcastically. Hannah stared at her friend in disbelief.

"Why are you so bitter? I've never known you to act this way before." Jenny groaned, and folded her arms.

"Hannah, you're still new to the city. You've lived here, like what... all of five months? Two years ago, I was walking home from a late night at the office. A panhandler approached me on the street, and asked for any loose change I could spare. I gave him the money, and then he raped me. So, now when I see a homeless man begging for money, I turn the other way. I hope they suffer- every last one!" Hannah sank down into her chair.

"I'm sorry you were hurt, Jenny. But, not every homeless man on the street is a rapist." Jenny turned her head away, but remained beside Hannah's desk. "If only..." began Hannah in a voice brimming with compassion, "if only, you could have seen the man who stood at the corner of Jefferson and Madison. If only you could have seen the thread bare clothes he wore, the absence of happiness in his eyes, and the look of humiliation that crossed his face every time I put money into his cup. When I saw him huddled beside the trash cans, his life slowly ebbing away, I felt sorry for him. God gave me the opportunity to have compassion on someone I pitied." Hannah looked at Jenny. "'For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.' God said that in Deuteronomy, chapter fifteen. Open your hand wide, as well as your heart, Jenny." The tears that were glistening in Hannah's eyes, now also glistened in Jenny's. Jenny reached put her hand, and Hannah took it in her own. Jenny was about to speak, when the elevator doors opened and Mr. Hanley stepped into the room. He saw the tears in both Hannah and Jenny's eyes.

"Ladies," he said in a voice of mock condescension, "well may you both weep, for the office is at a stand still while you gossip!" Mr. Hanley stormed past them, and shut himself up in his office. Jenny gave Hannah's hand one last squeeze, and wheeled her chair back to the desk across the room. Hannah turned back to her computer, but found that her trembling hands could not type.

"Today would be a good day to organize the files," she thought. So, that's just what she did.

"The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up."
~ 1 Samuel 2:7 ~

end of chapter
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