I think the first time that I was confronted with homelessness was overseas. I was 12 at the time, and we were travelling through Paris and in different places that we visited there were homeless people in different tunnels—something I hadn’t seen before in my small town in the United States.
Homelessness is tragic, as is poverty, but whenever I start thinking about this subject, especially as it relates to Christianity, I’m struck by who Christ chose to reach out to and I wonder if I’m doing enough…
Make a Decision to Help
She can’t be more than 22 years old, standing on the street corner with her cardboard sign. We pull up at the stoplight right next to her and all my children stare.
It’s a long stop light. Long enough for me to feel my heart breaking.
I used to ignore the homeless. This is America. Get a job.
This year I decided it wasn’t my place to judge. I decided to let my heart be broken.
I’ve decided that if I can help, I will. It’s usually inconvenient.
She goes on to say that she gave the girl some food and promised to come back to help her find shelter. She proceeded to find a place, but when she returned, the girl had left.
The problem that I have with helping the homeless is much the problem I have picking up hitch hikers. In theory, either should be safe, and yet we’ve all been taught about how dangerous it can be to help.
Not that there’s much danger in helping the homeless—unless they mug you—but one always judges whether or not they think that the person will actually use the money to buy food, whether if you help they’ll actually find shelter.
We’re told that statistically they do not.
And yet if you look at the life of Christ and His ministry, He said that He came to save sinners. He did not come for the rich, the righteous or the self-righteous, but to bring sinners to repentance.
This is the driving force behind Christian charities, but to a certain extent it should be our driving force as well. All peoples need to hear the message of salvation, not just the ones that are like us.
And yet how difficult this is.
What would our churches and our families be like if we actually believed and followed this? How would this effect your life?