Moses has got some wisdom, Solomon should be taken with a gain of salt, Paul is easily misunderstood, but Jesus, he’s my guy. Being my Lord and Savior, you know.
So Jesus said, “Give to everyone who asks of you.”
When I really looked at that command, REALLY looked, that was a difficulty. I mean, what if someone asks for my house? What if someone asks for my car? Another translations says, “Give to those who beg,” but the Greek word isn’t “beg”, it’s the most common word for “ask” or “request.” In the context, Jesus is talking about loving enemies and his emphasis is to give to everyone, without exception.
So I tried it out.
Every person who held a sign, I gave to. If they asked for money, I gave them that. If they asked for food, I gave them that. If a person asked for my time, I gave them that. If someone asked for a place to crash for the night, I gave them that. And sometimes that didn’t turn out well. A couple people were using drugs in my bathroom. A couple people took things from my house.
I needed to think about this, in the context of what Jesus was saying.
First, Jesus said I had to love everyone, without exception. That meant my family too. So there were people in my household (family and non-family) whom I am required to care for, but if I harm their well-being by helping others, that isn’t so great. That isn’t loving everyone. So I can fail to keep Jesus’ command by obeying Jesus’ command. This requires wisdom. So I only invited people in my house whom I knew wouldn’t harm others in the house.
Second, Jesus said I had to love. Not all giving is loving. When we pray to God, he doesn’t give us what we ask for all the time. He gives us “every good and precious gift”. Only good things, not things that would harm us. A loaf of bread, not a snake. So we need to give in the same way. I needed to make sure that what I gave benefited the other person, not just whatever they asked for. This also requires wisdom.
To give according to love requires listening and paying attention to other people. What do they really need? What are they really asking for? Jesus himself did this when he didn’t just heal a blind man, but asked him, “What do you want?” Giving isn’t a one way street. It begins with a dialogue.
Often I can give to make me feel good. I need to give to truly benefit the other in front of me. Sometimes I can get some food from a local store and that’s enough. But most of the time, my giving requires more work and wisdom than that.
But I realized in giving
Have you ever had your good nature always get the better of you?
Sometimes I can’t seem to stop myself from helping people no matter what they have done. Lol I know I am going to kick myself for this in the next couple of days. I really hate drama and it just landed on my door step needing a place for a tent so it won’t flood and they can go work.
Someone just slap me it will be quicker then a week of drama. Rofl
There are people who come out here and help because they honestly want to help.
Then you have groups that come out to help because it’s a school or sunday school “project”. “God told me to feed and cloth the poor”(sorry Steve Kimes some do it for the wrong reason under the lords name.) “They stand here and pray over you tell you have sinned but come now the Lord will save you.”
God isn’t going to give me a house unless I make the effort. It’s not just the system though its the mentality of people NONE of us deserve to be put out like garbage and forgotten then told it is our fault. You beat the people down. At some point we are going to rise up.
A note from Steve:
Karen is not disrespecting people who bring help, but those who think that the homeless need to be “saved” in order to obtain housing. There are people on the street that have greater spiritual lives than most church-goers understand. Many on the street go to church. Many pray more frequently and harder than most people could ever understand.
Let’s remember the words of James: “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: 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 dishonored the poor.” (James 2:5-6).
Let us never look down on someone because they are on the street. More likely than not, they will be testifying about us to the Lord about whether we treated them in love or not.
It isn’t all bad living on the streets. There are things that rarely happen nowadays when you live in a house.
First you are more connected to the people in your community (if you can stay in the area). Businesses and homeless alike see you everyday and get to know you as you get to know them. There is a stronger bond between neighbors out here. People more willing to help then a neighbor who lives in a house.
We have patched up animals and people. We have helped when a fire happens pulling dogs and people out. We pull together when the police start harassing us. More so then those in a housed community.
Some of the people I have met out here have touched my heart and every time they get cut loose about something I would like to hurt someone. Peoples’ past are just that: the PAST. Who you are now, standing in front of me showing me who you are; and where and who you want to be in the future, counts a hell of a lot more than someones freaking past. We all make mistakes and pay for them no need to be punished forever. Not one of us is perfect we have no right to judge someone unless they prove they deserve to be judged.
Never assume anything. That assumption could lead you to hate when there isn’t a need for hate. These are things forgotten when it comes to the homeless.
So our missing family member came home.
I had been calling shelters and hospitals to find him. No hospital would tell me if he was there. Come to find out he had been in the hospital for 6 days and a hotel for 2.
That is always a problem people disappear all the time and you don’t know what happens to them. If they go out of your neighborhood “your stomping ground” you lose track of them. People don’t know them like they would in your area.
So until they come home you wonder where they are. If they are alright. IF they are coming back.
When people go missing for to long Paul and I go looking put out the word in places where they go often. They all come check in with “mama Karen”. They know at least someone out here cares what happens to them because most don’t have someone who would care. These are people out here.
They are not garbage no matter what their problems they are people they are family. We are all just trying to survive.
We want statistics, because we want to quantify “the problem”, which is homelessness. If we can box it, measure it, then we can reduce it or eradicate it. Were it so simple. Homelessness isn’t something we can distinctly measure and wipe off the map. So much of homelessness is an attitude, both of the homeless and of housed neighbors. And trying to measure homeless folks is like trying to count the drops of water in the ocean.
Here are some of the issues those who gather statistics have:
1. Homeless folks don’t want to be found
In many cities, homeless folks and camps are targets. Targets of the police, of housed neighbors, of people who take advantage of them, of highway workers and others. Many groups automatically see them as criminals, or at least as “undesirables.” Folks on the street who would like to live a peaceful life find that hiding is the best way to do it. If the police can’t find them, then the likelihood is that those who wish to count the homeless can’t find them, either.
2. Street numbers change
Not only do the numbers of homeless change from year to year, they change from month to month. Most of the homeless have family, friends or jobs that will help them get off the street. Sometimes the right friend just finds out, a family member’s heart is tugged just right, or a family just needs to save enough money. In the summer, friends and family feel less for those on the street than in the winter. And there are cycles of time when landlords evict their tenants, and times when they don’t. If certain government programs for the ill, the mentally ill or the poor are cut, then homelessness increases. On the other hand, if shelters or programs develop, homelessness might decrease. Or it might not. So a single count every two years is woefully inadequate to give us a picture of homelessness at any other time.
3. Who counts as homeless?
Finally, statistics are remarkably different depending on who is being counted. Recently, the Department of Housing and Urban Development posted statistics about Homelessness, counting only those who are on the street. The Point in Time count every other year counts people sleeping on the street, those in their cars and those in shelters. Others will count those forced to live in motels, on friend’s couches or in other overcrowded situations. Some will actually compare one group with another to try to show that they have almost eradicated homelessness. Utah, for example, was able to claim that they reduced homelessness by 91 percent by changing the definition of who is “chronically homeless”. So numbers might not make sense, especially compared from one agency to another.
We need the statistics in order to give us a general idea of the scope of the issues involved, or to determine trends. But exact counts are not possible, unfortunately.
Karen is an articulate homeless writer who communicates the reality on the street, and how folks on the street support each other to survive. Occasionally she will have a post to give us a flavor of what it’s like on the street.
Sometimes I wish I could do more for some of the people out here.
Like the young man who just joined our camp. He fits what we look for in family and campmates/housemates. Doesn’t want drama; wants to get where he wants to go at a pace he can handle. He’s a veteran he deserves better then the streets.
Our family member Gypsy Wanderer wants to work and hopefully will be called here soon as the weather is better. If not then he is going to start his disability (which he should be on).
Paul and I never seem to make it to anything we need to do when it comes to that stuff something always comes up. Doing better at some of it making him take time. The need for a stable neighborhood for all of us is becoming paramount things like last night make feeling safe and truly able to sleep a difficulty when we all have PTSD and other issues.
Something I learned quick on the streets: DON’T lose who you are and don’t lose your will and drive to accomplish what you want.
It may take time to get there but at least you don’t lose yourself and become what they accuse you of being. Losing yourself is far worse then anything else that could happen to you out here. You become what they say you are because they beat you down and run you down till you are to tired to fight.
Unfortunately it sometimes backfires and instead of caving and becoming some of us stand up taller and start fighting back.
I have rights. My house is my van. My HOME is my husband and our animals. I AM a CITIZEN of this CITY and of this COUNTRY.