"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 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."I was struck by these verses this morning, thinking about homeless people in Pittsburgh. Heather has made up some bags of snacks to keep in the car, and give to people when we see them, but it is not particularly convenient to carry them around wherever we are walking, etc.
One church mission that we have helped at a couple times says that for the most part, the people are homeless because of a drug or alcohol addiction, so you shouldn't ever give people money. And there is the example of the guy, I forget his name now, who lives in Squirrel Hill in a house, but dresses up as a homeless man (the guy with the big Mexican hat on Craig Street) since the money is so lucrative.
When I was in college and in more contact with homeless people, I tried to get people food, and bought sandwiches at Subway, and tried to get to know people. I saw Corey still on Craig Street the other day -- that was one guy I talked to a number of times. It is depressing to see him still on the street after all these years.
I suppose one could argue about what John means when he says, "brother", but I think we need to be careful to not make excuses for ourselves.
Posted by Jon Daley on August 2, 2004, 6:54 am | Read 48804 times
Category Bible: [next] [newest]

A friend pointed me to second Thessalonians chapter 3, particularly verses 6 through 15.

I am not sure if these two sections are speaking about the same thing. It certainly would be nice if they are, as it would be a little easier to not feel like we should take care of everyone that we see.

But, I don't want to take the easy way out either.

Posted by jondaley on August 13, 2004, 10:42 am

If someone wants to move forward in life he can. If he chooses not to he can. What responsibility lies with the one in need? We can feed him for a day or a week but he must desire to have a change. Many wont change until the pain in at a all time high. I'm not refering to mental issues. Check out http://www.infinitychurch.com Jack
Posted by Coach on May 31, 2005, 11:52 am

There has been an ad campaign recently about not giving food to the homeless, the phrase is something like, "if you give me spare change, I will stay on the streets, instead give your money where it can make a difference - to the local charities, etc".
Posted by jondaley on May 31, 2005, 12:02 pm

If a person falls in to a river, do you not throw them a line because they "should have learned to swim at a young age" or "should not have stood so close to the river" or "should have worn a life preserver while near the water?" All are things we can blame the individual for for "not doing" to better protect themself. But aren't they really excuses that are intended to release us from any responibility to help? Sometimes, all a person needs in the moment is a line thrown to them. What comes next can then be dealt with next. But it's hard to make those changes while you are drowning. No act of kindness is ever wasted. It may not be the "ultimate solution" to a given problem, but the sentiment expressed if not the action has value in and of itself.
Posted by Jeremy Slayton on September 30, 2005, 6:28 am

I think the issue is that by giving money directly to most of these people, you are not throwing a line to a drowning man, you are putting weights on his ankles. Acts that masquerade as kindness, and may even be meant with much love and good will, can still be harmful. Ask any mother who has spoiled her child out of "love" and watched him self-destruct as an undisciplined, self-centered teenager.

Come to think of it, I know a runaway teen who might have escaped a very dangerous situation much sooner had he not discovered that panhandling was easy and lucrative. It was his hunger that drove the Prodical Son home.
Posted by SursumCorda on September 30, 2005, 6:45 am
Add Comment
Add comment
E-mail me when comments occur on this article