Seeing, Yet Blind…

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25 Responses

  1. Reuben says:

    I used to hate a saying, “think globally, act locally”, until I saw the local hurts…

  2. Jackie says:

    Remember the old saying, “charity begins at home.”

  3. Saturday, I went to Memphis. There is an area called Hickory Hill. I used to go there a lot when I was a teenager. They had a great mall, a large megachurch, many businesses and nice houses.
    I know that this area has been in decline for years since it was annexed by Memphis, but I haven’t seen it in about 5 years.
    I was shocked to say the least.
    The mall is close to empty, the multiple outdoor malls are closed or pawn and quick cash shops abound.
    The only thing left is the megachurch, but it is a different church now. It has a giant statue f liberty holding the Ten Commandments in one hand and upholding a cross in the other. Here is an article on that.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/05/us/05liberty.html?_r=0
    The area has been hit hard.
    We got to an intersection and there was a homeless man with a cardboard sign.
    These words about C.S. Lewis came to mind:

    Also memorable was Jack’s “enormous compassion and charity”. Douglas recalls a story where Jack and a friend were walking to a meeting one day when they were approached by a beggar. The beggar asked them for some spare change whereupon Jack gave him everything he had. Once the beggar had gone, his friend said, “You shouldn’t have given that man all that money Jack, he’ll only spend it on drink.” Jack’s reply – “Well, if I’d kept it, I would have only spent it on drink.”

    Needless to say, I gave him all the money I had in my pocket.
    Times are hard even here and we need to be mindful of it.

  4. Linnea says:

    In Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria….the need is everywhere.

    My husband goes to a park every Saturday where they feed the homeless and have a church service. Sometimes he sees the same folks who come for a meal, but mostly not. Always, he sees the gaping need and a lifetime of hurts that prevent them from knowing the Lord loves them. Yes, the need is local, too, but not as “noble feeling”.

    Sometimes my husband gets discouraged because the people they help and feed and pray with just can’t get out of the cycle that is poverty, mental illness and/or substance abuse. Never-the-less, we are called to continue to love and to help and to reflect the Lord.

  5. PP Vet says:

    ” … poverty, mental illness and/or substance abuse.” I have tried all three – in general, not recommended!

    “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared ….” I moved on.

    Thank you Jesus.

  6. Michael,
    Disturbingly excellent

  7. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    I would encourage everyone who is able to give a kind word, a smile, to pray with or to pray for, and any concrete assistances to one whom is homeless to simply do this without worrying about the person being able to break the cycle. For one thing, it may not be a cycle, but rather the nearly impossible task of getting off the streets given the lack of resources available, which includes adequate housing. And overnight stay in a shelter is not hardly going to provide what is needed to get a person stabilized. If a person is on foot, it is even more difficult. It can be an all consuming task to figure out where to urinate or defecate, find a piece of whatever to eat, drink, and deal with the constant unrelenting stressors of not being able to trust or to feel safe in and among society. People are under the impression that the government provides what is needed to get someone up and going—quite the contrary. For instance, a single person in California can earn a total of $277.00 per month by taking on a temp position through the Human Services contracting agreement they have with employers in the area. But in they have more than $50.00 of any type of cash or in bank assets, they are disqualified from being able to do this. Granted there are longer term housing available for those who are not disabled, or severely mentally ill, but are alcohol or substance dependent or a domestic violence victim—with children, that also provide treatment. But the clincher is this, since 2008, there is now a new sub population that is homeless–those who are well educated, have lost their homes, businesses, or have been on the job diligently for years or steadily. Some of these have and do turn to drink or using drugs and even to prostituting in order to stay alive.

    It is horrible for these to look into the eyes of others after exhausting all of their resources and been turned down time after time after time by even those in the church. By the way, homeless people smell, something awful and they are often tattered and torn, but inside of them, they are just like anyone else, except for on thing—-society try not to acknowledge them and if they do, they do in a way that ignore what it takes to get most of these back into what we call “the mainstream of society.”

    There are many homeless who are working a part time or full time job or even 2-3 part time jobs. There are many homeless people who live in their vehicle trying to go to school or to get job type training. There are many more children who are homeless who go to school too.

    So please, if you have a heart for the homeless, know that any kindness, including a smile, or a simple hello, a cup of hot coffee, a pair of socks, a prayer with them, an half hour of friendly conversation, something healthy (and I don’t mean fast food–for it is the worse thing to give a homeless person who probably suffers from malnutrition, heart and glucose problems)to eat and maybe a good book to read or even glasses to enable them to read or to even see things, just know that to the least of these, you have done to Him, as well.

    Please never ever think that those moments or the number of times you choose to do this is ever wasted—nothing is ever wasted when someone is homeless, not for a moment.

    Do not grow weary in well doing—most all to the least of these.

  8. Rob Murphy says:

    This I understand.

  9. Muff Potter says:

    uriahisaliveandwell @ # 7:

    Good comment and a hearty amen! No act of mercy, kindness & compassion has ever been or ever will be a “filthy rag” in the eyes of the Almighty.

  10. Papias says:

    Yesterday in Sunday School class, the leader asked for commented on overlooking those who needed help. People started talking about ministry in soup kitchens, standing up for marriage, and other things we could do to help others.

    The whole time I just sat there tearing up. Been out of work for months and it seems like no one cares a rip. They want to minister to others but not to one in their midst.

    Sorry….just how I feel. It was a bad day yesterday.

  11. Michael says:

    Papias,

    We are so disconnected from each other on so many levels that I’m beginning to think that this is the norm in churches…I thank God that mine does all they can to help us.

  12. Xenia says:

    I have two middle-aged friends who just lost their jobs. It’s going to be hard for them to find new jobs, owing to their ages. I wanted to help these people but their rents /mortgage payments are over $1500 a month each! Just handing them a ten-dollar bill is not going to help them at all. I don’t know how to help these friends other than prayer, friendship, and little acts of kindness.

  13. Xenia says:

    It’s hard to know how to help previously affluent people when they lose their sources of income. The homeless man on the street gets a dollar and he can get a hamburger at McDonalds. He can spend the night at a shelter. But what to do with for someone who has a big house, nice cars, etc? Sure, they need to downsize, but in the meantime, how to help?

  14. Gary says:

    Xenia,
    #12- You have 3 not 2. You named 3 good ways and I’ll just give you an example of your last one- acts of kindness. You can have them over for dinner. You can deliver a meal to their house. You can offer your highly organized highly motivated skill in showing them how to look for a job or writing a resumé.

  15. Gary says:

    Most of the people with signs on the corner aren’t looking for a friend or a meal. They just want some cash. They will be your friend for the moment in hopes of getting some cash or if you give them some cash. They’ll agree to what ever you say. Yes, they’ll take what food you offer and they may even scarf it down. Most will say “God bless you” before they know if you’re going to offer them something. I think they say that cuz that’s what everyone says to them. If they beat you t it what can you say? I tell them God cares about them but only God can apply it to their heart.

    I feel so bad for these folks cuz they are impenetrable. When I tell them God cares about them it’s water off a duck. I pray for them and sometimes I tell them I’ll pray for them. They need self respect and that’s hard to come by. Only God can do that for them. I don’t know what they’ll spend the money on and I don’t ask. Many of them, maybe most of them have given up on getting a job. That requires an address and a clean look. Handout cash is tax free and these people hate the system. Bummer.

  16. Gary says:

    t it= to it. If they beat you to it…

  17. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Here is some suggestions to helping people mentioned in the comments. For those in your church, there needs to be benevolence fund along with a board for rooms for rent. Many people who are in need do not bring this to the church attention. Some don’t because they know they will not be helped, or they don’t want anyone to know, or they are afraid to ask. But please remember, not all people on the streets are there to take advantage of your good heart. For those, if you are going to help them do it in direct in-kind ways. That is, don’t give them cash, but food, socks, fresh bottle of water, etc. Many of the people who are homeless already knows the Lord and used to sit in the midst of the congregation, like you are doing. There are many woman out in the street due to some level of domestic violence, child abuse, and or adultery done by their husbands who still is going to church. Not all of these things are proscutable, nor is it necessarily safe to attempt to file a complaint against them. Sometimes, being in the street is far more safer than living under the same roof with him. Remember, adultery is not illegal. But in order to get rid of the wife, they must cover up by forcing her out of sight so that they will not be exposed. Back to the person who cannot make their mortage and want to keep their home, they have to take in boarders. College students are the best and International students usually pay ahead of time. There are so many seniors citizen that also need a room, but not to pay an arm and a leg to rent. Of course, there should be an agreement with reasonable house rules,etc.

    In this season of time, people are taking advantage of those who are on bad times. They overcharge, making difficult to save any money. Banks may be willing to refinance, but then what—all the years spent in paying the mortgage off is now spent on trying to pay for a house that needs to have repairs done, but cannot afford because the mortgage is now out of reach. Employers are having a hard time of it as well but know they can get cheap labor for some excellent work put out by the employee because they know there is a couple of thousand of people in line also wishing to have that position.

    When in doubt and you want to help someone make a payment, instead of handing them cash, buy a money order made out directly to the landlord, mortgage company, electric, telephone.

    Another way to help some—-is to have them sign a promissory note to pay back in terms they can handle. Some people actually do need to have these arrangements as it helps them to know they are being helped but also given the respect they need in moving forward with hope and incentive.

    Don’t be so sure that all homeless people don’t know the word of the Lord. Some can probably give to you better than you to them. In that event, fellowship with them and hear what God may also be saying to you as well. Count your blessings that you can give and give out of the abundance of your heart, but be discerning and wise in all things. Take time to get their story and go from there.

    For addicts and husters, give them a list of treatment centers.
    As for shelters, there are far more homeless than there are beds. For those who know the streets, it is usually those who have been on it for a while who knows where, how, and when of securing one for the night. They are not safe at all, particuly for young males, females, and single women.

    Some live in their vehicle—gas vouchers are great. As is a couple of nights a week in a hotel. Safety is a premium, a shower is good as gold, and hot food is nourishing to the body.

  18. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Gary,

    Take heart—for those who misuse the cash you give them, that is between them and the Lord. But for those that do not, know this—you are the one link to humanity and they do not readily forget you. Also,these are the ones who are probably trying to make their room rent and are also seeing to the needs of their household.

    As for giving them the Word, that’s good, well, and fine, but when you make that more of a priority than their priority of just getting through the day, it will not make a dent in them. Think of it this way, if all you did with your friends, neighbors, and people whom you work with is to give out the word, give out word, give out the word, then what is that? It is the person who you are in concrete terms that is better heard and seen and, in this God will present an opportunity to share His word. People tend to think that homeless people need the word more than anyone else, therefore, they strike out with the very people they seek to minister. Simply because it doing this, without knowing it or meaning to do, they are being disrespectful and condescending to those in need. So, those on the street will listen in order to get their needs met. In turn, those who are ministering God’s word become frustrated and at times exasperated, thinking somehow things will change overnight or within a short time with this person. It’s won’t —- not unless you want to adopt this person and coach them in concrete terms while they work towards getting re-established.

    Also remember, going through the process of becoming homeless can be extremely truamatic, therefore, there may be what is called post truamatic stress disorder (PTSD). There may be an inability to converse easily as homelessness does alienate and isolate a person. Try not talking to anyone for 2 weeks. You will see what I mean. It’s not that they are not capable–it is just what homelessness does to a person. Try sleeping for a couple of hours without the benefits of being able to stretch out to sleep. Try not sleeping for 8 hours at a time. You will see what I mean. Sleep deprivation can do all kinds of things to a person. Also look up: Broken Heart Syndrome. And then ask yourself if you wouldn’t do what you could to medicate in order to block out or numb the pain and suffering you are experiencing in order to, if nothing else, to not think about how miserable you are and how few people really take the time out to understand homelessness and think that if they just had the Lord, they wouldn’t be there in the first place.

    Very few cases of today’s homelessness fall within the addicted population. Worlwide.

    And for those who are addicted, they need treatment. There is little funding and few beds that are free. These need help to but in concrete terms that are not direct cash given. Please keep in mind, if they have been convicted for drugs, they are not eligible for food stamps.

  19. Gary says:

    “…a board for rooms for rent.” Would that be room and board? Would they meet in a board room? My church has that. We also have a food closet. We collect cash and food the first Sunday of the month. When someone needs their rent or a utility bill paid the check is made out to the utility company or property owner.

    Please don’t tell me not to give cash. The only other thing I could give them from my car is canned foods and they may not have an opener. I don’t want to offer them junk food.

    I know I’ve been scammed and lied to before. I don’t always give. Once 2 good looking young ladies drove up in a beautiful car. They were both dressed up and there was a child in the back seat. The driver said she had just left her husband. I didn’t believe her. The other lady gave me a prepared speech. They looked like they were on their way to a night on the town. I offered the name and address of my church. She wasn’t interested. I offered FESCO- the local woman’s shelter. Not interested. I didn’t say what was on my mind to say. They could’ve sold that car for way more money than I had in the bank.

    Once in a store parking lot a woman asked me for enough money to get home on the bus. I gave her some money. When I came out of the store I saw her get in a nice car and drive away.

    With Obama Care going into effect many many companies are laying off and rehiring part time. We are becoming a nation of part timers. All those part timers will have to pay for Obama Care out of pocket or pay a fine.

    Once when I gave a guy some dollars he recited a poem. I told him that was a great poem. He told me about how a prof had him recite his poetry in a college class. When the next car came along they honked so I had to go. Most times the guy quickly moves on to the next car.

  20. Gary says:

    I always give them the money before I tell them God cares, or at the same time if I have to move on. I wish I could help them all, one in particular.

  21. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Gary,

    @ 19

    Regarding the “board,” what I am speaking of is a board where people can post if they are renting out a room and for how much or if rate is negotiable.

    1. Don’t ever give to someone who is asking for money for the bus. If you want to help them in this way, don’t do it on the spur of the moment. It is usually a scam. What you can do though is this: buy bus passes that they can use for a month. This means that either you will have on hand or you would have become more acquainted with the person to enable you to be more discerning and not get taken for a ride.

    2. Smart regarding those who drive nice cars and out for the evening.

    3. You can buy gift vouchers from MacDonalds and other fast foods.

    4. Pour your time and effort in the one God has laid upon your heart.

    5. Your church has it going on. Yeah, for they will be blessed and the Holy Spirit will cause all to flourish and abound greatly.

    6. The guy moved to the next car because he knows he has just much time with you and also knows if he causes you to tie up traffic, he can be cited or lose the ability to claim that as his corner in order to earn what he can to make it on the streets.

    7. As for can goods, pick up at the army surplus store the can openers they use for camping. They are only about a inch or two in size and extremely handy for those who have to pack ever so lightly.

    8. A goody bag is also a great idea to give out: include toothbrush, toothpaste, soap that does not need to be rinse off, wash cloth or washpads used for bedridden patients. They’re are disposable and does not need water to rinse off, yet cleans the body and deorderizes it. You can also include a Christian tract, a phone car, bus pass, a movie coupon, and even a note of encouragement.

    Gary, your heart is generous, loving, kind, humble, and ever so full of the desire to do God’s will. Do not be disheartened for it is the Holy Spirit that works within you to bear the fruit of such faith. Well doing, good and faithful one of the Lord.

  22. London says:

    The group at the little church in the town working goes to a certain part of town once a month and hands out water, packs of toiletries my co-workers and I get from hotels when we travel, books, toothbrushes, food etc.
    we don’t give to a tin of people, but its the same people from month to month usually and we know a lot if them by name.
    You don’t have to do a lot, just do something.

  23. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    London,

    What this little church is doing great—the consistency of showing up and supplementing what they need to spend for food, bus fare, as to just figure a way to come up with the money to pay for things can be insurmoutable. Just to be able to wash and brush your teeth can do wonders to not feeling like trash completely. To be able to call them by name is awesome, for a person’s identity and self worth becomes lost in the midst of trying to remember, it wasn’t always like this and maybe, just maybe it will be different.

  24. London says:

    Yeah, they are a good group

  25. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Papais,

    Have you let your church know of your situation and what you need from them?

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