Homelessness happens all around the world; however, it isn’t something we think about often, if we are honest with ourselves. We are very blessed people in America, still. Surely, our country has many flaws like every other country—there is no perfect place upon Earth. I am very guilty for complaining and acting out during scary hard times. Nevertheless, I have never experienced true homelessness. Even in the midst of the nature disaster in California in 1994, we had shelter within a day, and resources to help us pursue getting a place within two weeks of losing our home. That was not homelessness.
We need to change our thought process and words especially when we are facing rough times, “I am so poor,” when we still have a roof over our head, cell phone, television, internet, bathroom, food, etc. Understandably, times are rough, prices go up and wages do not, but we need to look at what we have, not what we do not.
Watching that touching YouTube tonight really hit my heart and soul so incredibly hard. I cried, hard. I felt his emotion; his exhaustion; his thankfulness and his kind heart. All of us have avoided a homeless person in some point of our lives. It isn’t right, period. Every single homeless person has a life, and has a history on this Earth. Just think, that could be one of us in a year’s time. Life is unpredictable. In circumstances today, our life could become completely something we did not see coming.
I watched an upsetting thread on Facebook once of people saying they would never give their time and attention to a homeless person because “they are just too lazy”. Granted, many panhandlers “disguise” themselves as being homeless… In my opinion, if I give to someone who is not truly homeless, and just pretending for the sake of making money for alcohol, drugs, what have you—I know God’s judgment is the only judgment that matters upon that person. It should not stop us altogether from truly seeking out those in need.
There are about 3.5 MILLION homeless Americans today, and that number is rising every moment. Did you know approximately 700 homeless people in America die each day from hypothermia alone? I did not. Statistics show the homeless also die from unprovoked violence due to hate crimes. From 1999 to 2005, the National Coalition of the Homeless documented over 400 acts of violence against the homeless by housed individuals.
Also, when we have referred homeless people as “the crazies”… How insensitive have we become? How can we teach our children these selfish thoughts? Yet, we are the same nation that wishes NOT to be “too judgmental” when we are judging all the time. Instead, let us show compassion. If one is not comfortable giving money, simply do not. It is not just about the money, it is the compassion of noticing that person. A person’s misfortune is not going to plague us; in fact, we will learn a lot more from someone without verses someone that thinks they have it all. A simple smile or hello, they are just like us: a heart, soul, spirit—breathing. No labels. Let us stop stereotyping. Not one is worthless.
“Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and becomes judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?” James 2:2-6
“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
Credits and Links:
JustGive.org: A direct link to a very informative list to help the homeless.
NHCHC.org: Detailed .pdf documentation of the statistics on deaths of the homeless.
San Jose Mercury News: Reported in December 2013, four people died of hypothermia.
Think Progress: In one of the wealthiest cities in the country, 7 homeless people have died due to a rare cold snap this winter.