A couple of months ago, we volunteered to open our home to a young woman who needed to get back on her feet after spending time in prison. We really felt God wanted us to do this but she got hold of our checkbook and stole a fair amount of money from us before vanishing. Did we misunderstand what God wanted us to do? — Mrs. R.M.
No, not necessarily. God wants us to show His love to those who need it—but there's no guarantee they will always accept it. Sometimes, in fact, they will abuse it (as you know from your own experience) but that doesn't mean we shouldn't extend love to them.
After all, there's always a certain risk in showing love to anyone. If we knew everyone was going to welcome our love and be grateful for our kindness, then love would lose its meaning and we would extend it without even having to think about it. But love—true love—involves a decision on our part, a decision even to risk rejection.
Remember: This is how God loves us. God loves us in spite of the fact that most people turn away from Him and reject His love—but He doesn't stop loving us. This is the kind of love we should have toward others, if we know Christ. Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34).
Remember, too, that you don't know the end of this young woman's story. What she did was wrong—but she will always remember your kindness, and someday God may use it to turn her to Christ. Our example lives on long after our deeds are done.