September 3, 2010

I’ve said a lot of bad things in the short time I’ve been alive. I’ve said a lot of things I wish I hadn’t and would do anything to take them back. Yesterday, I said one of those things. My mom had asked me if I brought my jacket home and I responded, sarcastically “no, mom, I gave it to a homeless person.” As soon as those words left my mouth, I wished I could’ve taken them back. I thought about that statement long after my mom had forgotten.

It might look like a wonderful city, and it is, but there are around 7,000 homeless people in Seattle, 1,000 of which are kids and teens. Does that make anyone else sad? According to Wikipedia, in March 2004, Seattle was named one of seven cities leading the way to chronic homelessness by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

That’s crazy. And we look down on these people. We think they’re below us because they don’t have a roof over them.

Honestly, looking back now, I wish I had given my jacket to a homeless man. I take so many things like that very much for granted. And I judged them. The whole homeless community. I thought my things were too good for them; for “people like that.” Now I realize there’s no one who deserves it more.

I try to live my life as Jesus would want me to. I’m not too good at it… My favorite verse is Mark 2:17- “… Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…’”

In a weird kind of way, I think this verse fits this situation well. It’s not the warm who need a jacket, but the cold. Laugh, but it makes sense. We would much rather wash the feet of those who are already clean. But Jesus calls us to do the “dirty work.” Not His dirty work, but to get dirty, to go places and see people others would much rather look past. It would be easy for me to give my coat to my friend, but I would find difficulty in giving it to someone who truly needed it.

Why is this? Why do we find it hard to help those who need it when it calls for us to part with something; be it possessions or our reputation? Is it because we find them lowly or unworthy? I hate to admit it, but that’s usually the reason that I tell myself.

But what if Jesus was in a similar position? You know what He would do. Don’t throw the “we’re not Jesus” card at me quite yet. We might not be Jesus- we’re not, but we can still try to model our lives after His. That means visiting the homes of the sick, loving our neighbors, even if the sick and the neighbors are homeless.

I’m not saying to donate every stitch of clothing you own to the homeless, but do little things for the people who deserve it most. Show them compassion. “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” (1 Peter 3:8)

Everyone is human. Someday, you might be in a position similar to these and you’ll need somebody to love you. Show them love now, and the compassion will be returned.