A man stopped me the other day and said, “You know you are trying to help people who are lazy, and that’s why they sleep on the streets.”
I looked at the man and realized it wasn’t him that I wanted to punch in the face but the ignorance that needed a confrontation.
So I answered him this way:
“Sir, why are people homeless?” Well it would be nice to say that the reason a man or woman is homeless is simply because they choose to live in such a condition and they are lazy. But, I have a richer and more humane answer. It is an answer that is only based on experiences, phone calls, conversations, and tears.
Well you are right. Some people are homeless because they have made some unwise and unfruitful decisions which have led to their current situation. I mean seriously, if you blow your income on marijuana, crack, illegal pharmaceutical medication, alcohol, or living beyond your means, you stand a high possibility of living on the streets, under a bridge, in a box, in your car, or in laundry mat on the corner of Oak and Harkrider. Who hasn’t made a bad decision? The grace of the matter is some of our bad decisions do not put us out in the cold.
But there is another group we need to know about sir.
We need to see the homeless men and women who have been forced out on the streets because of someone else’s choice. I rarely hear people with complaints such as yours make that claim. I mean would you prefer to be homeless, sleeping on a couch somewhere else or be the living punching bag for a man who knows nothing about manhood and your value as a woman? What about the people on a fixed income who are given a short window of time to move from their rental home because some developer with city approval chooses to create a mall, parking lot, or apartments for more affluent individuals? Look at our economy. If you can’t find a job so you can have an income and then rent a place to stay, what solution do you have?
Why are people homeless? People are homeless because they sin against themselves and they have been sinned against. This is the undeniable truth of the human experience. The reason for much of the human suffering in our world is standing right in front of the mirror. It’s me and you sir. But you won’t know that unless you are willing to listen.”
The gentleman looked at me and said, “Young man, are you seriously implying that it’s my fault?”
“Sir, that’s exactly what the homeless man or woman you refuse to learn about, is asking as well.”
During this month of the Unseen Campaign, take time to visit a shelter and hear the story of the homeless. Then you will learn why they are homeless.