In The Way

I may not know much but I know something about homelessness. I know enough to understand it’s not quite as simple as some make it out to be.

Maybe they dug a hole for themselves — but maybe not. Either way it seems most people they come in contact with want to bury them.

It takes more stamina to be homeless than any other experience I’ve ever known.

If more people experienced this for themselves they’d show more respect.

Someone once told me that some women want more stability than others. I told him this is not the case and every woman (and man) would like stability — but perhaps a house doesn’t provide this and Jesus says we don’t even know what tomorrow holds anyway.

ANYONE can be months or one devastating event away from homelessness.

Check out James 4:14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

And Proverbs 27:1 Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.

 

What if instead of judging you just pray in the moment when you see a homeless person?

Prayer only costs you a few minutes and it’s a MUCH more beneficial way to spend those few minutes for you and for others instead of deciding you know better about a situation.

A couple years ago as I talked with an angry homeless man I told him I’d also been homeless for a few weeks. He told me I needed to try it longer before I had anything to say about it. Having experienced homelessness 3 times now and for different reasons, I have something to say (whether this angry guy thinks I do or not.)

There are probably as many reasons for homelessness as there are people who are homeless.

Some choose it and some don’t.

It seems to me many show disgust about the homeless probably because they just don’t understand and are uncomfortable with it and probably don’t realize they are adding to the problem by their disregard for humanity.

 

And who cares if people try anyway?

If they try too hard there’s no assistance but if they don’t try hard enough they’re treated as less than human. When you’re treated as less than human long enough, part of you begins to believe that lie.

 

And it can happen faster than you’d think.

And forget TELLing anyone you’re homeless because the moment you do, most people tend to treat you as if they think you just want something from them.

The thing I’ve noticed most is that they (we) just may want someone to listen so they can talk through the situation they’re facing today. (I say “we” because my daughters and I are homeless also so we’re sharing some things we’ve noticed through our experiences. For those who think they know all the details of our lives we are here to remind you that you just don’t.)

But I get it.

Lots of people DO want something from you; mostly because they’ve noticed that this is how people view them so they have started (or even fully accepted the lies) to believe there’s not much other reason for a conversation, because most view them as helpless.

If you’re viewed and treated as helpless for long enough, it’s easy to begin to accept this fate — though it’s FAR from ANYONE’S truth.

This conceited mindset, that if a homeless person talks with you he or she MUST be trying to get something from you, may be causing you to miss out on some Divine Appointments and ONLY God knows which one of you He’s blessing with each encounter or maybe it’s both. Thinking you’re obviously blessing a homeless person by just taking time to listen to them is vanity. They may very well have something to offer you but pride clouds your vision to be able to see clearly.

It actually doesn’t cost much for you to listen.

The truth is that most of the time you cannot solve the issues going on anyway and it wouldn’t do a whole lot of good if you did. Usually attitude has to change for the better before a situation gets and stays healthier.

But you CAN be kind.

 

It’s EXTREMELY difficult to live while feeling in the way almost all the time to almost everyone.

 

True. Some people do act crazy to keep others away (and some people do have mental issues) and I encourage you to ALWAYS use wisdom and listen to your gut feeling. If something seems wrong listen to that and leave the situation. God gave you that for a reason. I’m not telling anyone to carelessly just be with or around someone because clearly sometimes there are dangers — but those kind of dangers are there whether the person you’re encountering lives in a house or not. (My life is full of examples of this.)

But Jesus says to love the least of these and the homeless population are some of the least. We ALL are the least of these.

Matthew 25:37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

If anyone gives even a cup of water in Jesus’ Name… I mean you can give a cup of water anyway BUT when you do this in Jesus’ Name, there is eternal blessing; treasure in Heaven.

Matthew 10:42 “… And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Care for your neighbors. You know about the good Samaritan story. Right? Who are your “neighbors?”

The Bible does NOT say that the good Samaritan had to know exactly what the man beside the road believed about The Bible or salvation before he helped him.

He just helped him anyway.

Even with all the popular cultural messed up political views, he just helped how he was moved to help.

Luke 10:31-34 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

 

The Bible DOES say you’ll know Christians by their love.

John 13:35 “…By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love among one another.”

By love, you can read on knowing I don’t mean enabling, but rather serving others however God puts on your heart to serve.

You do your part — since you are going to answer how you give, serve, and love.

And the receiver is going to be held responsible for his (or her) part, as he is responsible for what he does with the gift he’s been given whether money, food, or other gifts.

 

It’s actually very simple.

If you’re moved to give in some way, then give.

If you’re not, then don’t.

 

But NOWHERE is it helpful to be condemning.

 

The whole cheerful giver thing… attitude matters SO much. It’s a heart thing and it always has been.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

I can see there is a certain charm to be found in chronic homelessness though; the less stuff we have, the less we might worry.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

You and I both know there are some who choose to stay homeless — and that’s okay.

But there are those who would like for life to include a house of some kind.

…It’s almost kind of silly though — as if a house equals dignity or something.

It doesn’t.

I’ve looked into the eyes of a homeless man and I’ve seen hopelessness.

I’ve also looked into the eyes of a man who lives in a very nice house and seen the same hopelessness.

I’ve looked into the eyes of a homeless man and seen hope.

And I’ve seen the same hope in the eyes of a man who lives in a big house.

The difference is not in what they have but in Who they have.

 

From my view many people seem to expect more from homeless people yet secretly feel they know all the reasons for their homelessness in the first place — and also all the solutions.

But the truth is the more that many people try to do better, earn better, and climb out of the seemingly bottomless pit that homelessness is, the more others pile on the heavy judgment and weight of the nothingness that others think they are.

The thing is – it’s not designed to climb out.

And when you ever DO try to climb out the ladder rungs are so coated with slime that when you reach up it just feels impossible and defeating in ten different ways every time.

People look down on you because of what you own or don’t — and that’s just nonsense.

Why would anyone look down on someone based on something they don’t own?

The truth is most people don’t own their house anyway; the bank does.

 So perhaps the view is a bit warped from where some are seated with such high regard for themselves.

Many people want to be independent and want others to be independent also but the truth is we’re all dependent on each other; like if the electric company didn’t do its job then you wouldn’t have electricity no matter how much money you could give them, and the grocery store without groceries wouldn’t be able to provide food to buy no matter how much money you have.

Jesus says we’re to care for each other (and be dependent on Him which goes against popular thinking.) And there are even many curses if we don’t care for the poor. That’s more than a little scary to me.

 

Help the poor.

 

Proverbs 28:27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

Proverbs 22:9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.

And also if someone won’t work The Bible talks about this too.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

 

 

Many ARE willing to work but FEEL hopeless.

I find it’s difficult for ANYone to do better while feeling defeated.

 

We each have some responsibility toward improving this mindset.

 

But as far as a healthy view of homelessness goes I know A Man Who walked this earth and could have had riches stored up and magnificent houses but chose homelessness and from what I’ve read had QUITE The Ministry even so.

His Name is Jesus.

 

He promises:

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust IN THE LORD with ALL your heart

and lean NOT on your own understanding;

in ALL your ways SUBMIT TO HIM,

AND HE WILL make your paths straight.

 

And

 

Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God

above ALL ELSE, and live righteously,

AND HE WILL give you everything you need.

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It Will Cripple You. It Is A Trap. (Pornography and stuff like that)

If we see someone playing in the street who may not realize the dangers and we don’t run to him to warn him, are we part of the problem?

“Well, yes, we know he’ll be crippled by this but since he didn’t ASK for help, we didn’t help.”

What kind of logic is that?

Some say, “People already hear too much of what the church is against and not enough about what we are FOR.”

Okay that’s true.  And let’s do a better job at that.

So let’s say it THIS way:  CHRISTIANS are FOR good, healthy, yummy, fun sex.  God is the one who created sex and He made this to be a good part of marriage between a man and a woman.  Like many other things, we humans sometimes mess good things up.

When we see someone walking into a trap or a street full of cars that we know will cripple him (or worse) for maybe the rest of his life and we don’t do anything, are we at fault at all?

There is a movie people are talking about seeing that we KNOW will cause more damage to people’s views about sex, life, and relationships.  Actually there are MANY movies and tv shows that are “programming” us to view life a certain way and we have to keep speaking out by saying it’s just not okay, NOT spend money to support or promote this so-called “entertainment,” and help each other avoid traps that satan sets for us.

Since You [Lord] are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your Name lead and guide me.  Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge.  Psalm 31:4

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

The movie (MANY movies, tv shows, advertisements, magazines, books, etc.) turns something God made that was and IS good – in fact, VERY good – into something that is ugly and depraved.  (And this is not limited to sex but it definitely includes sex.)

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.  Genesis 1:31

When we promote or watch junk that fills our minds with things that are not good, isn’t that part of the problem?

We cannot UNsee stuff.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

Is it that we don’t want to bother anyone because we sometimes feel like it’s none of our business and because it will make someone mad and we’re supposed to be peace “keepers?”  Actually the Bible says peace MAKERS.

Blessed are the peaceMAKERS, for they will be called children of God.  Matthew 5:9

What will make you stand up for good?  What is the right thing to do?

The good news is that we do not have to be fighting battles alone.  God is our ever-present help in trouble.  (And God has already won the war.  We know that satan and evil lose.)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

EVERY one will answer to God.

EVERY knee shall bow to Jesus.

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'”  Philippians 2:10

This “every knee” includes each person in the “entertainment” industry, each of the leaders of the whole world and people who create, promote, and consume stuff we’ve become numb to and call “entertainment.”

~~>  And this includes you and me.  <~~

Absolutely, as Christians, we DO want to tell the world what we are FOR – and we are FOR GOOD SEX.  Sex, the way God designed it, was and is GOOD.

When we see a trap and do nothing, isn’t NOT saying something making us part of the problem?

 

[It may not be common knowledge that Christians are FOR good, yummy, healthy, wild, incredible, exciting, crazy, fun sex!  As long as you both consent and it’s ONLY you, your spouse, and God, and there is never another person or any other living, breathing anything* involved in any way, then pretty much your imagination is the only limit.  (*No person or anything living or dead… although it seems that wouldn’t need to be said… there are some who aren’t sure of this so it’s included here.)]

But I Don’t Have Any Tape (Provision)

I tried to open the classroom door and it was locked.

Our new class has met in 3 different rooms.

There wasn’t a sign on the door to tell us where to go but I opened a nearby door anyway just to check and it was nice to see it was the right place.  Sometimes it’s not easy to be so bold, ya know? What if class already started? We don’t want to bother anyone. What if it’s not the right room? What if they’re saying a prayer? I don’t want to interrupt. etc.

Since it’s possible more people may feel the same way I did and not want to disturb others I made a sign to put outside the old classroom door.

After scribbling a quick sign and picking up the paper I said to the few people in the room, “But I need tape and I don’t have any. Does anyone here have tape?”

Nope.

Walking to the door and not quite sure how I’d attach the paper yet, I kept thinking, “But I don’t have any tape.”

I looked at the door handle and hinges to see if I could tuck the edge of the paper there to make it stay. Not gonna work.

Then I looked down by my feet.

I didn’t even have to take a step closer to it. The tape was just right there. Right within reach was a used piece of tape; sticky side facing sticky side. I picked it up and carefully pulled on the edges wondering if it would be sticky enough to hold a sign to a door long enough to guide people to the new room.

It was.

Stepping back into the current classroom I said something like, “People can’t even say God’s not listening and He doesn’t provide because He just DOES. I was just asking about tape and there was tape. Isn’t that so crazy?!”

The teacher said, “Nope. It’s faith.”

Crazy faith! So many people look for adventure in life and spend thousands of dollars to find it. I wonder if they know that faith is such an amazing adventure every day.

Some may say it was just a coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidence. God provides what we need when we need it.

 

And the thing I kept thinking about is this…

It was a piece of tape.

It wasn’t a nail or a screw or velcro or glue or a paperclip or even a rubberband.

 

It was tape – which made me think of this verse:

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

God just provides. He’s in the business of doing this very thing. He gives us what we need just when we need it.

God provides Tape 2

I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this. We love to hear when this has happened in people’s lives. Hearing how God provides never gets old!

[Please note: You are welcome in class at church even if something prevented you from getting there “on time.” We would rather you come share and hear what’s going on in Bible class even if you’re late than to not show up at all. If teachers are upset and this isn’t the case where you worship, perhaps some are focused on the wrong thing. The message IS very important but if nobody is there to hear it then what’s the point? Consider this; Maybe you’ll walk in at the very right time to hear just what God knew you needed to hear.]