Friday, November 06, 2009
When Men Become Expendable - Part Two
"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27
"Open your mouth, judge righteously and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy." Proverbs 31:9
Several months ago I remember reading an article about homeless men and women being corralled and flown out of New York City on one-way flights – paid for by the government and taxpayers. Are you kidding me? Response after response over it online was how great of an idea it was as it would save the city money on costs for shelters. After all, who wants bothered by them anyway, right?
I'll personally admit that I've had little history with the homeless. Even the reference to them as such turns my stomach as it automatically categorizes them in people's minds and somehow deems them as lesser. I have however had enough interaction with several over the years to get the gist of many of their circumstances. I'd say that all of them that I have personally met had one major event that went horribly wrong and set off a chain of events that changed everything. They had no one there to help them and the end result was that they lost all that they had and ended up on the street. Whether it was their own fault or not is irrelevant really. We all make bad mistakes and thankfully, don't always reap the bad benefits due us. Despite most people's willingness to believe this, it could easily happen to any one of us within a very short time frame, should the circumstances be right. How are they viewed though? How do you see the homeless? They're often dirty and disheveled with few, if any possessions and generally understood to be somewhat mysterious. In this culture, if you're dirty and your abode is a city park, then you are automatically a lesser man. I would assume that we have all felt this at some point. Some figure out that these men and women are no different than any other and leave that prideful mindset behind, others will go to their grave avoiding them at all costs and assuming that they are somehow unworthy of respect, love and attention.
I will tell you, in absolute complete honesty, I don't know that I have ever been moved so deeply as when showing the love of the Father to a certain homeless man two years ago. I've only seen him three times since I met him two years ago (he lives in another city), but the day that I picked up Jerry and simply spent thirty minutes with him will forever be etched in my memory. He has value, he has purpose, he has life – He is a man created in the image of God. My time with him taught me more about the Gospel in minutes than years of evangelism courses and Sunday School classes ever did. These who we call "homeless" are our brothers and sisters in this world. They have value. They are not expendable. (I encourage you to stop and find the dozens of times that Jesus referenced the poor and the forgotten in the Scriptures. You might be surprised to find when reading His descriptions of them, they are more likely closer to God than any of us.)
These that society has cast aside and heaped insult upon their already dire circumstances are men and women of value. They were created in the image of God. Their lives have purpose and destiny. They are not expendable.
NEXT: Part Three - Race