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Friday, September 21, 2007

“Don't help the Homeless!” it’s all about “Getting High”

Regarding, St. Vincent de Paul Unplugged and Updated (see Tuesday, September 18, 2007) Anonymous writes, "Sometimes I am conflicted in my response to the homeless and would like your advice. I am not around the homeless much but when I see them, I do acknowledge them. However, I am not sure what I can do more without creating problems. I have a few friends who are recovered addicts and temporarily lived on the streets and they tell me that it's all about getting high on the streets. They said if I give them clothes or soaps etc. they will sell them or fight over them. They advise me to acknowledge and be friendly but to move on. My experience with homeless is not in downtown or at a soup kitchen. It's isolated homeless at a park or outside a store. And without judging I do think they are probably high. I just feel bad that I can't do anything for them. Can you advise?"


Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, I am no longer alive, but if I was I would come and walk with you and explore ways that you could reach out to the poor by first helping you to look at your own interior poverty. I ask you, where have you failed? What are you ashamed of in your own life story? Responding to a homeless person regardless of their “getting high” begins with acknowledging the brokenness inside of you.
When we are not afraid to confess our own poverty, we will be able to be with other people in theirs. The Christ who lives in our own poverty recognizes the Christ who lives in other people’s. Just as we are inclined to ignore our own poverty, we are inclined to ignore other’s. We prefer not to see people who are destitute, we do not like to look at people who are deformed or disabled, we avoid talking about people’s pains and sorrows, we stay away from brokenness, helplessness and neediness.
By this avoidance we lose touch with the people through whom God is manifested to us. But when we have discovered God in our own poverty, we will lose our fear of the poor and go to them and meet God.
In answer to your question, yes, please do give to the “high” homeless person food, clothing and shelter and give as far as charity will take you. Your reward in heaven will be great. I know.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I am really am trying to understand and embrace the situations. How should I respond to panhandlers? Should I always give them money? I've just heard so many controversial pieces of advise, I am not always sure how to respond.

raby savage said...

Panhandlers: If the Spirit moves offer food, no money--although I have given money on occasion knowing it might be going for something I don't agree with such as drugs and booze. Although my thinking was at the time, it's none of my business what it goes for--it's God's money and the Spirit moved me to give.

Anonymous said...

"Take My Life" by Scott Underwood.

"Holiness, Holiness is what I long for. Holiness is what I need. Holiness, Holiness is what you want from me.

Faithfulness, Faithfulness is what I long for. Faithfulness is what I need. Faithfulness, Faithfulness is what you want from me.

Take my heart, and form it.
Take my mind, and transform it.
Take my will and conform it, to yours, to yours, oh Lord.

Brokenness, brokenness is what I long for. Brokenness is what I need. Brokenness, Brokenness is what you want from me.

Take my heart, and form it.
Take my mind, and transform it.
Take my will and conform it, to yours, to yours, oh Lord."

To me, this song applies to the first comment so well. The brokenness, faithfulness and holiness all work with each other. If one is absent, then we can't have our hearts, minds or will formed at all to what Jesus wants from us. Once we start to long for that "brokenness" that those less fortunate than us already have, then we can't even imagine how to help them.

Jesus was Homeless said...

Thank you! The Scott Underwood lyrics are powerful and really connect well with the brokenness required to conform us to the mind of Christ. Our will becomes so crushed and so broken that we can say "it is not longer I who lives, but Christ who lives within me."

Raby savage said...

Those lyric blow me away. Thank you.