Two of my personal goals on this trip are to deeply get to know the people God puts in my path, and to share their life stories with as many people as I can so that people can put a name to a face.
When I’ve talked to friends or others about helping the homeless or the poor, I’ve gotten the following responses:
- They choose that lifestyle, so why should I help them?
- They don’t want people bothering them. Just leave them alone.
- They’re all drunks and druggies. That’s how they ended up there in the first place. They deserve it.
- You give anything to them, they’ll sell it or use it to buy drugs and alcohol.
- They’re mentally disabled. There’s nothing I can do to change that, so why bother?
- They’re dangerous.
- It doesn’t matter how you help them; they’ll just end up back on the streets.
I ‘ve honestly had people use every one of these excuses to either stop me from helping the poor or to get out of helping the poor. And you know what; those people are right. There are some that are druggies and they lost all their money to their addictions. There are some that are dangerous. There are some that would prefer to be left alone.
But honestly, making one of these ignorant blanket statements about the poor and the homeless is akin to saying, “Christians molest little boys, so I don’t want to go to church.” Yeah, the pope and a few pastors in the past have been all over the media for making a rather big mistake. However, wouldn’t you (assuming you are Christian) defend yourself by saying not all Christians are molesters? I’ll tell you now, not all homeless or poor are any of those things. If you make one of those statements, I’m willing to bet you have never sat down on a city street with one of those people and had a real conversation with them. So how would you know? It’s the perfect cop out to get out of helping.
Beyond just making these excuses, I see people ever day in Los Angeles step over these people on the streets like they are inconvenient stains on the sidewalk, shadows of beings that were once human, not worth their attention.
“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.” Deuteronomy 15:7
So over the span of the trip (and most likely beyond) I will be posting stories of the people I meet. People need to hear their stories. I wish so badly that every one of my friends and family could join Viktor and I on this trip. People dehumanize the homeless and poor because they don’t know any better. I want to show the world that these people have faces, names, stories, hopes, and prayers. They’re not just shadows. There are dynamic souls behind those eyes.
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18
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