Is it loving to the tell the Truth? This open letter is to an able bodied person…

Dear “Homeless” Man,

As I am driving off the freeway, I see you there standing near the off ramp with your pant leg rolled up showing off your wrapped “injured” leg. You try to make eye contact to the poor suckers in their cars to show them your down and out face. Yes, I understand it is Florida in the summer time and it must be quite hot for you, but I look to the other side of the freeway off ramp and what do I see? I see another man, bearing the heat like you. I see him holding another sign—quite different from yours. Instead of the sign saying, “Homeless, anything helps, God Bless” his sign says, “LIQUIDATING SALE-60-80% OFF!” Now my “homeless” friend, what do you think about that man over there? Do you think he is a loser for actually working for his money? Do you think he is stupid for going through all that work for $10 an hour when he could do what you do for at least $25/hour? Do you think that what you do is work?

 

I know there are people out there on the street who are really down and out and life has thrown them nothing but lemons (Well, God has thrown them nothing but lemons). I understand that a lot of your homeless friends have psychological issues. But are YOU capable of doing the exact same thing that the guy across the street is doing? How can I show you the love of Christ? Would it be more loving for me to point you in the direction of a Church where you can get real help or do I give you money to aid you in your sinful lifestyle? Would it be more loving to have it told to you?

 

Sincerely,

The Woman Who Won’t Give You Any Money

 

I have had quite a few dealings with homeless people. There is no cookie cutter situation. I have met a family who was down and out and the man was willing to do anything to provide for his family. I have met a young man who was homeless and collected disability because the government labeled him with, “Oppositional Defiant Disorder.” This man got tax payer dollars because he lost his temper too many times and couldn’t keep a job. I have also met a man who was a Vietnam Vet. He chose to be homeless. He wanted to live a simplistic lifestyle; its easier, less stress. I have met homeless people who tried to get local help but didn’t want to abide by the rules set in place, “Their rules are too strict.” “I can’t do what I want to do.” So what are we suppose to do? I just gave a huge range of examples from “true” homeless to the man who chose the lifestyle. What do we do with homeless people characteristically?”

 

The Bible teaches us to help those in need. We can do this though through the local church. The church is where the social help used to come from. Recently a lady came in to our local church with all her belongings. I was walking out and she asked me for help. I immediately thought of what I personally could do for her, but I couldn’t tend to all her needs at that time so I found an elder in our church. I spoke with him about the lady and he knew of her situation. The church had tried helping her in the past but she ended up taking advantage of those who helped and placed people in precarious situations. The church tried to help her, but she wanted to do things her way, while taking advantage of people.

 

How do we reconcile “he who does not work does not eat” with “if a brother is without clothes and lacks daily food…but you don’t give them what the body needs?” Would God be glorified in us giving money to a person who is just lazy and refuses to work and/or abide by rules?

 

“We are called to love, but this society’s view of love is backwards.”

 

How do we love the ‘outcasts’ of society? How do we truly show them the love of Christ? Would the loving thing to do is to let them suffer until they come to their senses? When someone is desperate enough, all of a sudden they will do any job.  Reminds me a little bit about the prodigal son who went from riches to rags and eating out of the pig sty because he was so hungry. The Prodigal Son didn’t repent and run to his father until he hit rock bottom, until he got tired of the effects of his sin.

 

The local church used to be the place to go for help. Everyone knew that if you needed food, clothes, or shelter you went to the church. Now-a-days, the government helps the poor. They aid them in their sinfulness (marking them with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Anxiety Disorders; both encouraging their sin, and promoting other ones, like laziness) without ever truly helping them. I have seen a rise in young men who are asking for money. Young men who seem quite able bodied enough to have some type of job. Like a job holding a sign…

 

Is it wrong to tell someone to conform to the standards? Jesus didn’t think so. The government certainly doesn’t have a problem with this either. Where I live, I am not allowed (by law) to put more than two kids per room. This is a standard that I am forced to live by because someone thinks it is somehow abusive to put more than two kids per room and it is the children’s “right” to not be cramped.

 

Orthopraxy is hard sometimes. We are called to reach out to the poor, yet we are told to take care of those in the body of Christ first and foremost. We are called to love, but this society’s view of love is backwards. Supporting a loved one continuing in sin instead of telling them the truth is what love means now a days. The Bible teaches that he who doesn’t work should not eat. We were made to work. Work is a good thing. I commend the folks who stand out in the miserable heat with one of those liquidating signs. I would rather give money to them then a homeless guy. The most loving thing to do is tell the truth–even when it seems harsh. Next time; I think I might just give a tip to the man with the liquidator sign, for setting such a good example. May homeless people find a job of holding a sign…instead of bumming with one.