"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27)
I try to stay away from politics. Not that I believe Christians should not vote, I do, but because it can frustrate me to no end. Take this past week. I went to a local town council meeting. Now many may be wondering if I slipped a cog....what a way to spend an evening.
There may be some truth in that.
See I heard this week that the town council was going to discuss the local homeless shelter. Seeing as I work and interact with the homeless everyday, my wife and I thought we would go down and see what was up.
Who knew town council meetings could be so contentious.
From the opening statement I sat in shocked frustration as each member of the council berated, attacked, belittled and smeared the local homeless shelter. In the end it boiled down to the fact that, as it was stated clearly more than once, "We don't want THOSE people on Main Street!"
Those people are people who are homeless and/or intoxicated. Every crime in our town was pinned on THOSE people. Everything was the fault of THOSE people. The shelter was attacked for helping THOSE people.
I finally spoke up about how "those" people were human beings and worth something. My wife said basically the same thing. Our cries, as well as those of a few others, seemed to fall on deaf ears.
"but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God."
When I was a teen, my family was homeless for a time. It is not a good feeling. We hurt as fellow Christians blamed us and said we must have sinned against God to be suffering like this. My Dad's business folding was God's punishment. Sadly as new believers we were somewhat confused.
These council members spewed forth indignant venom, belittling the vary essence of the homeless people in our town.
"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."(1 John 3:17-18)
We were created in the image of God. We are called to love.....not just the wealthy business man, but the lowliest beggar on the street. Yes people make bad choices, yes some choose to drink, but not every homeless person is there due to drugs and alcohol and even if they were Jesus loved them enough to die for them as well. How can we treat them any less than human?
"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)
It may be uncomfortable, it may even scare us a bit, but Jesus loves the downtrodden. Shouldn't we? A kind word, a pat on the back, a nod, a hearty hello, they can all go along way to giving someone basic dignity. They can also open the door for you to reach out with the Love of God in word AND deed!
So the next time you pass a homeless man or woman on the street I want to challenge you to look beyond the physical. Look with the eyes of God to a hurting world and LOVE!