Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Maybe There's Hope.

We pass him on the street and we're left with a question... 
What do we do?

Do we avoid eye contact, walk by, ignore him... assume he's 
just like the rest of them?

Or do we look him in the eye, stop for a second, say hello, and 
dare to hear his story?

Do we hate him? Or do we love him?

Maybe he's like the majority of them. He had opportunities, he had help, he had other options and he blew them. Wasted them. Chose alcohol & drugs over stability. Maybe he had his 20 chances and chose to ignore them. Maybe he wouldn't even accept help to get clean and get right today. Maybe he does, in fact, deserve where he's at.

But maybe not.

Maybe he had a stable life and something happened. Maybe he lost someone in his life and had no idea how to cope with it, how to continue living a stable life. Maybe a medical emergency occurred that left him in debt for the rest of his life. Maybe he lost a job in our crazy economy and his house foreclosed on him. Maybe he's dealing with a mental illness that costs WAY too much to get treatment for... you know, an illness you and I could pay for. But he couldn't. Maybe he was abused and neglected his entire life and nobody ever told him he could do better, he deserved better.

Maybe he's desperate for hope. 
Maybe he wants help. 
Maybe he would change if someone could show him how. 

Do the people in the second scenario exist? Yes. Of course. Are they the majority among who we deem "the homeless?" No, probably not. But do they exist? Yes.

I know people scam. I know people are untruthful. I know some people "deserve" where they are. (Although I would argue that point entirely.) But not all of them. Some small percentage, I believe, really would and could get out of there if they had SOMEONE show them some kind of hope.

That small percentage is reason enough for me to stop. Make eye contact. Smile. Start a conversation. Listen to the story. Maybe take a chance.

Maybe I just gave $10 to buy a dude's next six pack. Maybe I will only feed his problem and make him keep begging. Maybe.

Or maybe I just gave $10 to buy a guy's next meal and pair of socks. And maybe I will only feed his hope that there is good, there is love, and there is another option.

I have been called naive concerning this topic a number of times. People tell me all the time that homeless people are just trying to make a fool out of me. And you know what? I'm okay with that.
I'd rather be naive than cynical.
The world has enough cynical people.
I think the world needs a few more who will take a chance to made a fool.

Maybe in every 10 people I stop, talk to, give a little money to... maybe only one is actually grateful, will actually use it for food, will actually gain hope from it. Maybe only one in ten.

But isn't that one worth it? 

He is to me.
I'll be made a fool 10 times if it means I can give hope once.  

"If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother,but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, 'The seventh year, the year of release is near,' and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.'
Deuteronomy 15:7-11



'The H Family' said...

good thoughts jordan! i use to struggle with the same questions all the time and then someone told me something that has forever changed how i think about it..."God has not asked us to be accountable for how they use what we give them. He has just asked us to give when we feel prompted." i love that!

Janice Brown said...

As I read your post, I thought of Matthew 25: 35-46. Just as we do not do for the least of those people, we do not do for Christ (very rough paraphrase). Thank you for being you, Jordan!

Janice Brown