Move right past, and maybe I won't get "the ask."
He better not try to talk to my children.
Make no eye contact.
Great, now I am going to have to say no again.
Can't I walk down the city streets without getting hassled?
If I give money, I know what it is going towards.
It is embarrassing to admit folks, but these are my thoughts as I pass the homeless. Thoughts of fear, thoughts of worry, thoughts of judgment and thoughts of control.
To state the obvious, the homeless are homeless. But, not just because they have no place to lay their head, but, in part, because of how my actions seem to push them outside of God's family. When I turn my head, when I am afraid, when I fear a loss of comfort, when I cling to my money, I silently send a message that they have no home anywhere near Christ. My body language proves that they are not insiders, ones welcome to receive the love of Christ, but they are misfits, lying outside any possibility of finding a Savior.
But, what if? What if I looked to these people to see - not a person who is dirty, unworthy and possibly manipulative, but I looked into their eye to see - myself? What if, as I took a moment to deeply ponder their faults, I realized my own: dirt from the sin that often runs wild, an unworthiness to receive even the smallest measure of Christ's sacrifice, deep manipulations to get my own needs met?
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Mt. 7:3)
What would happen if mankind decided to turn their face - from me? Where would I be today?
Recently, my suit-clad husband sat in a coffee store, a little nervous about a big meeting ahead. He pulled out his Bible and decided to let God's Word soothe his fears. As he sat there, a homeless man swaggered in. He came right up to my husband and started talking to him about the Word of God and how amazing it was.
At this moment, my husband stood before a choice. Would he think: "This man is manipulating me and spouting out Christian words to get money"? Or would he hear: "There is no fear in love”?
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' (Mt. 25:40)
When we do for the “least,” we do for Jesus. And, often, what we do for Jesus, he knits up - in us. When we step back to realize we are in need, just as much as the needy, suddenly God meets our needs in staggering ways.
My husband entered into dialogue with this man and the dialogue that ensued was one that delivered a sermon like an arrow straight to his heart. As if Jesus handed this homeless man queue cards, peace abounded. Together, these men spoke into each other's lives. Together, they pondered. Together, they humbled themselves. Together, they acknowledged God’s sovereignty. Both, delighting in the power of the Spirit that unites the body of Christ.
"For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body--whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." (1 Cor. 12:13)
Yet this oneness was only the beginning, for then the jaw-dropping happened. Overflowing with the fullness of God's love, the homeless man stood up, in the middle of this bustling coffee store, in a city hustling with needy souls, in a place where few ever hear the name of Jesus and he started proclaiming the goodness of the Lord. He started to say how good Jesus was.
Would mankind shut him up and push him out, like the worthless street scum he was? Or would they listen, and hear the goodness of the Lord, spoken from the type of man that Christ loves? Spoken from the type of man who has every reason to hate God.
He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need. Prov. 21:13
What will we do? Will we hear or will we shut our ears to the cries?
For others' cries are our cries. Our cries are cries we want God to hear. Cries of mankind are cries that long to be heard by us. Judgments are things we run from our whole life. Yet, we so easily hand out the very thing we detest. Either way, God looks the other way, because of Jesus on the cross.
What if, instead of being those who reinforced the very things we hate, we were the ones who reinforced Jesus's love on the cross? Might we find ourselves the greatest recipient of God’s love?
Often called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly Balarie encourages other to live with passion and purpose. While Kelly has suffere d through various mental, physical and financial trials, she has found God's unique plan in these dark places.
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Publication date: December 7, 2015