Our shoeboxes are off to the great world beyond our seeing and senses! But there’s a world just outside the comfort of our homes, too. A world within the reach of our senses. A world that sleeps, breathes, eat, and lives without a home.
We don’t like to think about homelessness. When we do think about homelessness, we don’t like to think about the people who are homeless.
I know, I get it. I’ve been there. Some of us have been burned.
And it hurts. And we feel helpless, so we harden our hearts.
We start to think the homeless deserve what they have: nothing, no one.
But in that very thought we think we *do* deserve what we have. We earned it. Whether by working or by serving our families at home. We forget it is a gift. For a time, I forgot it was a gift.
Who We Like to Think the Homeless Are
We use the standard lines of civil society to keep our hands free of the messiness of homelessness:
- “They are all drug users. Nasty little homeless-es.”
- “They are hookers. Selling their bodies on the market of flesh.”
- “They are wicked people who like their wickedness.”
- “They don’t want help.”
- “They are mentally ill.”
- “They’ve burned their bridges, let them sleep under them.”
The truth is:
- Some are drug users. Have we asked them why they got started?
- Some are hookers. Have we listened to their stories?
- Some are wicked, and like their wickedness. Can we pray for them?
- Some don’t want help. But some do. Are we thankful someone helped us?
- Some are mentally ill. Does that mean they should be treated like animals?
- Some have burned bridges. Haven’t we all?
I’m not saying we need to bring the homeless into our homes to camp out in our spare bedroom. That would not necessarily be wise.
Just a Little Like Us
But maybe we could just see the homeless a little differently? Just a little like us?
And maybe when we see them, we will be moved to help them. Maybe just a little?
Maybe with a penny? Or two. Or ten?
Here’s one place for your pennies: City Rescue Mission.
Maybe you have a shelter or recovery program in your town? I imagine they can use your pennies, too.
REALITY CHECK: I haven’t learned this lesson alone. And I haven’t learned this lesson easily. And I
don’t think I’ve know I haven’t learned this lesson fully. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t apply the lessons I’ve learned so far.
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