Can I be honest and say I am a cynic?
And I am convicted.
As I watched this video, I was challenged to think about what home is.
I’ve seen and given to people who were wearing new tennis shoes and decent-looking clothes, and I’ve questioned if they were really homeless, or if they were trying to turn a quick buck.
I’ve wondered if the money I give would really be used to buy food, or if it would purchase the temporary buzz of drugs or alcohol.
I’ve walked with someone who asked if I had spare change into a convenience store and bought him a sandwich.
I’ve offered to buy a McDonald’s meal for someone asking for cash, only to have it turned back in my face.
I struggle with knowing how to best identify someone truly in need and how to genuinely help them.
I don’t want to be a cynic when it comes to my fellow man.
I want to have the heart Jesus does for people who are homeless. For those who have lost family, jobs, identity. Jesus loves those who are homeless, as well as those who have homes of every shape and size. He doesn’t view them with cynicism.
Would I want to be identified as, “that homeless woman?” Or would I want to be identified as someone who is more than a label, a preconceived notion?
Do I think giving money to someone on the street is the best answer? Not usually, but maybe sometimes. I need to offer more than my cynicism.
I need to first pray for a heart that sees people as Jesus does—through eyes of compassion.
Sometimes, God may ask me to give money, and trust that He will work through that act. Perhaps that person will still spend the cash on something harmful. But who knows how a simple kind act will feed a hurting heart? The question is, will I be obedient and trust Him?
What do my actions teach our boys? I don’t want them to infer the lesson that the homeless are all frauds. Many are not.
I need to have a heart that is open to the Spirit’s prompting, and brave enough to engage, rather than avoid eye contact at a stop light.
Every person, every person, has a story. (Click to tweet)
He or she is more than the sign they hold. It’s not up to me to discern their story and determine whether or not they are worthy of my cash, my efforts.
The man holding the sign that shares he’s a homeless veteran tugs at my heart strings. I know some veterans have walked very difficult roads. He looks me in the eye, wondering what he’ll see. I can’t always hold his gaze.
It is up to me to pray for them. To pray for discernment and see if this is a person God is calling me to reach out to in some way.
When I have room in my heart to help, God can move. Too often, I’m busy, too busy to listen to the Lord’s promptings in those seconds it takes to make decisions.
I am the last person to make suggestions about what to do with the “homeless situation” we see in our cities and towns.
I just know that God is calling me to move out of my comfort zone, to have a heart that’s more open to Him and more closed to the cynicism that has permeated my thoughts regarding people on the street corners.
What about you? How has God moved you to help people who are homeless? For you parents, how do you teach your children about people who are homeless?