As Christians, we should be the hands and feet of Christ to everyone- not just to the pretty, the well adjusted, the comfortable, safe folks (James 2). I struggle with that. My judgement game is strong. For someone who has been shown so much mercy and grace, I have a difficult time pouring it over others. I don’t know why.
I’ve always had a wall up when it comes to the homeless. Be it fear of the unknown (Will they hurt me? Will they want more than I can give?), distrust, personal greed, judgement (I work hard for what I have, I’m not just going to give it away to anyone with an out stretched hand).. I don’t know.. I would rather not engage. If I ignore the situation, it’s not real. If I acknowledge the situation, I am investing..do I have the energy to invest? Why on earth am I not investing?! These are people! What if I was in their position? What would I do? But I wouldn’t be in their position, I would seek help from the proper channels and pick myself back up. These are the mental rabbit holes I spiral down. Over the last few months I’ve felt the gentle, undeniable nudging of the Holy Spirit calling me towards the homeless community in Chattanooga. I’ve brushed it off, I’ve blatantly ignored it, I’ve made excuses. But it is undeniable. I feel the Lord tearing down those walls of separation, and to be frank, I don’t like it. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. It’s not a ministry I would have chosen. It’s not cute or tidy or comfortable– which is how I know this is not a JenFox promotional project but God at work. Super exciting..equally terrifying.
We had a lengthy discussion in bible study last week about knowing where to draw the line (being smart, safe, city-savvy ladies) when being charitable towards others- particularly the homeless. I see the guy with the sign standing by the traffic light near Target and I look the other way. Everything in me says it could lead to danger. OR my efforts would be in vain, as the money wouldn’t go towards a noble endeavor. It’s the world we live in, you can’t trust anyone. I hate that, but I have seen first hand how quickly situations can escalate and become dangerous. Or your gift goes to the liquor store. or the meth man. or whatever and now you’re an enabler. Our conclusion was when you feel the Holy Spirit convict you- do something. It isn’s about what the person does with the money, it’s about you responding to the Holy Spirit. You might not feel compelled in every encounter, listen to your gut/conscious/whatever and give when you feel called. I feel, for me, there has to be more than that. But I’m not sure what. In James 2 it talks about faith and works going hand in hand. It cant be all one or the other. If I claim to have faith in Christ, should I be making excuses for why I’m not doing more to help others? I know I have to be smart.. but am I using “common sense” as a crutch? It doesn’t stretch my faith to stay in safe harbors.. but I also don’t want to be a dummy and end up chopped to pieces in a freezer (see how quickly that escalated?? ..thanks Criminal Minds)
I’m not sure where it goes from here. Volunteer work seems a logical next step. What are your thoughts?