Monday, October 27, 2014

AT HOME WITH THE HOMELESS

The reason I do not help help the homeless is they have made a choice.  Their choice has lead to them sleeping on the streets.  If they would just get a job and work like all the rest of us, they would not be on the street.  If I give them money, they may buy alcohol or drugs with it and not food.  If I give them my old clothes, they will not appreciate my extreme generosity.  I  am not going to help someone who will not help themselves.

Any part of this may be true, but here is what I am learning.  As the mothers walk into the large room where we are tutoring, they will not make eye contact with you.  They know that I know that they are living in the shelter.  They feel like a failure and shame bows their heads and diverts their eyes.  I struggle with my self image, but the struggle they must face has to be over-whelming.

The children are wary of you and look at you with distrust in the beginning.  They have to change schools while living in the shelter---they must attend the school in the district where the shelter is located.  New school, new teacher, new temporary home, and most are struggling academically.  Who knows what they have seen, what they have heard, or what has happened to them.  It is disturbing at a minimum to think about this while with them.

One student had a note in their backpack from the teacher--"Not paying attention".  Perhaps they have other things on their minds---perhaps it is difficult to sleep in a new place---perhaps the other children are bullying them--or perhaps they think everyone in the class knows they have no home--they come from the shelter.  It is enough to break my heart.

These mothers are still mothers and love their children.  These children are still children and love their mothers and daddies.  They walk into the study hall out of breath and reeking of sweaty child smell which comes from time on the play ground.  If you saw them on the street, you would see no difference in them and your own children or grands.  They are sweet precious children--who live in a homeless shelter-through no fault of their own. 

So the next time you are given the opportunity to help one of the homeless---remember this---It is not our responsibility to question their circumstances--it is our blessing to offer help.  We have all been scammed--and shame on those who scam you---but remember the shame that must come from resorting to beg--and just help them.




12 comments:

  1. Oh, shame is such a harrowing mantle to wear. May our loving gracefulness remove the shame and morph it into hope ...

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    1. Beautiful words, Linda. Yes--may our grace cause them to hold their heads up as we share the love we have been graciously lavished with!

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  2. Yikes Lulu, you should have seen my eyes when I read your first paragraph! I thought you wrote from your point of view, you sure got my attention!
    I do help out at an overnight shelter for the homeless, and it's amazing how I have become aware of so many families needing services. How fortunate are the people who have jobs, insurance and a warm home. How easy it is to sit in judgement from that platform.
    God bless your work, and your loving attitude. I know you must make such a difference when you are there. I know your faith informs your attitude, and no one could miss that.
    Blessings!
    Ceil

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    1. GOTCHA! What a blessing to share what has been so graciously lavished upon me---HIS LOVE!
      Blessings to you Ceil!

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  3. I applaud you for writing this post. Your insight makes helps me to think through my own thoughts when I see homeless people. And how will I know their story unless I get involved with them even in just a small way. The poor will always be with us Jesus said but He did not mean we are not to try to comfort them, to give out help, He certainly means for them to hear the sweet gospel too.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Betty. It helps me know how we all feel and YES, we are all guilty at looking on "The least of these" with suspicious eyes. SHAME on us! Stay tuned--part two tomorrow after MUCH discussion today!

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  4. I also rather give my help to charities that help get the homeless out of the street. That's better as you're sure the money goes somewhere and not just on alcohol or drugs.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. The shelter where I volunteer focuses on getting them back in a home and off the streets.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  5. My dad would give anyone the shirt off his back. He was often criticized for doing so, for helping people that would not or could not help themselves. He said, "I give and leave the rest to God." He said I have to be obedient to what God's word says. He was my example.

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    1. My exact sentiments! I am obedient--and not responsible after that obedience.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  6. This is such a good post! If Jesus treated us with the attitude of the 'writer' of the first paragraph, we would all still be hopelessly lost. Mercy is never wasted.

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Your comments keep my writing and often cause me to think. A written form of a hug or a pat on the back and an occasional slap into reality---I treasure them all!