If I’m honest, then I must admit that I used to look down my nose at people who needed Section 8…now I need it.
If I’m honest, then I must admit that I had preconceived notions of who the homeless were…now I’m they.
If I’m honest, then I must admit that I used to think I knew what kind of losers ended up homeless…now my family and I are homeless people, and none of us are losers.
If I’m honest, then I must admit that I thought I was better than some people…now I know that I never was.
Honestly, I don’t believe that anyone really knows who the homeless are and what they face on a daily basis, except maybe the people who work with them, with us.
They are kind, hard-working, dedicated to family, loving, helpful, talented, people who have had unfortunate breaks. They’re children. They’re adults. They’re teenagers. They’re elderly. They’re disabled. They’re parents. They’re grandparents. They’re white. They’re black. They’re Hispanic. They’re every shade of the rainbow. They’re anyone. Maybe they’re even your sister, brother, father, mother, grandma, and grandpa, friend or former neighbors. They’re not looking for pity, they’re looking for a place to live. That’s it. That’s what makes them homeless – no home.
Have they lived on the street? Maybe. Have they lived in motels? Possibly. Have they lived in intolerable conditions? Most definitely. Suffered trauma? Undoubtedly. So what makes them deserve this sentencing? Don’t you think they’ve been through enough? Do you want to make it harder for them? How do you think God feels about them? About how you treat them?
A neighbor of mine, here at the shelter, was walking down the street to the mini-mart that’s about a mile away. A woman stopped him and said, “I’ve heard about you people.” He’s like, “Excuse me?” She responds with “You’re from that shelter.” “Yes.” “There’s a bunch of drug addicts and drinkers over there.” “Ma’am, I can assure you that I am not an addict or a drunk.” “Oh. Do you have a church that you attend?”
That conversation was not verbatim, but you get the gist. This woman, who didn’t even know this person, clearly considered him below her, barely even a person. An addict. A drunk. Not even human. Hmmm…isn’t that what they used to consider slaves? We all know how wrong that was!
Then, when she realizes that he isn’t what she thought he was (he’s an actual human being. Amazing!!!) then he’s a prime recruit for her church! My mouth fell open when he told me this. And yet…I think that’s what happens every day. Sad. So very sad. God must be crying so very hard.
Please think about that the next time you see someone who looks like they need a hand. Maybe consider if it were the other way around. Wouldn’t you want that helping hand? Remember the good Samaritan? Yeah.
A Note: The homeless shelter I’m in, and most, I would bet, have rules against drinking and drug use, etc. The fastest way to find yourself out of this shelter is to drink, do drugs, or harbor a weapon of any kind! The people who run my shelter care, very deeply. The rules are in place for everyone’s safety. We are better people for them. No judgement necessary.