I ask people at Bible studies, on street corners, and on the internet: What do homeless people need?
Far and away the most common type of response gets thoughtful and complex.
Homeless people need jobs. If they had jobs, then they would have money to live on and would be fine. Of course once your being thoughtful about it, it is clear that most homeless people are not ready to work. They need a shower first, a good resume, an address, and I.D. And those things are relatively simple to get. But then there are things like job training to think about.
So a respondent quickly begins to analyze the things that prevent these measures and the picture gets more complex. Addicts need treatment (and a willingness to work!). Psych patients need medications. War vets suffering PTSD need special favor. And in the meantime they all need a place to lay their heads for the night.
Homeless people are messy. Ever take one (or more) into your home? Ever do a vagabond’s laundry?
Yeah. It’s like that. Sh*t happens – as they say (Thank you Forrest Gump).
And right there the respondents disengage the discussion. It’s like the lights just go out. I wish my blog counter could count how many visitors stop reading at that last sentence. When I discuss it with my friends and acquaintances, I usually see the break just about there in the conversation.
Hmmm… What to do?
Well, let me ask you how it is that you manage not to suffer the kinds of obstacles listed above in your life. Again, as I discuss this with others the responses tend to fall into the I-was-raised-right category.
So let me see if I got this straight. When you came into the world, you were loved and wanted AT HOME. Despite the fact that you messed your diaper, your bed, and peed on your mom, left your dirty socks on the couch, your shoes in the doorway, played your music too loud and stayed out past curfew, you were welcome AT HOME and learned to be a responsible homemaker in the midst of all that?
Yeah. That’s how humans are made human (so it would seem), and you are your own best evidence.
Even though job training and addiction treatment probably play a part in stemming homelessness, it is rather clear that homeless people need a HOME. HOME makes all the difference in the world. So why aren’t we Christians opening up our home to those in such need?
Explain that to Jesus as you read Matthew 25:45.
More thoughts about HOME soon…