I found part of a writing from many years ago, and it inspired a blog. One day when my husband and I had occasion to be going home through a large city, we turned a corner and I saw an obviously homeless man, sitting there beside a building.He had a couple of blankets, which he shared with his dog, who it seemed was enjoying a bone. All of this I saw in a matter of seconds, as we whizzed past to continue our journey home.
But it only took a few seconds to realize how easy it is to ‘walk on the other side of the road’….as in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10 vs 25-37. Tears filled my eyes as this thought came to my mind.
And now when I think of that picture in my mind I am overwhelmed with the reality of the number of people who are on the streets of our cities and towns. Some are there because of some trauma in their life such as losing their job and family and through their emotional distress just ended up homeless and wandering one day to the next. Some I believe are there because of the issues related to mental illness and there not being enough safe-houses for them. With all of the human rights issues, sometimes people fall through the cracks, because of bureaucracy.
In the city we were driving through, I know that years ago there used to be a “hospital for certain people with mental illness, but then came cries that these hospitals should not be… So the people who were being cared for were released and given their ‘freedom’. With that freedom came responsibilities that I think were too much for many of them. I’m sure some of them were placed in group homes etc; but without knowing how to manage their ‘welfare cheques’ etc; and perhaps falling into bad company and perhaps alcohol and the like, they ended up on the streets. And so their lives changed forever.
There are those that are homeless too I believe because they have been rejected by people and employers and society in general.
For all of these people they manage as best they can based a lot on different churches, groups and organizations. Those that offer a hot meal, or clean socks, or in the winter blankets. There are shelters available for many to sleep in at night out of the cold and wet weather, but many of these souls will not use these places as they are afraid the few belongings they have might be stolen. And also if they do have a pet that they love, they are not allowed to take them into these shelters.
We can’t sometimes do anything to change this aspect of our world, but we can change our attitude and not think that they are all good-for-nothings and deserve the predicament that they are in. And even if we find ourselves in the presence of one asking for some change to think that perhaps we are passing one of God’s angels for we entertain angels when we know not. Or even further taking such a person into a restaurant and buying them a meal.
Our ‘Good Samaritan’ did this and more. Does God expect any less from us?