Can you recall a life-altering moment when your past way of thinking was shifted? I can recall quite a few of those. One in particular in the last year or two.
I remember hearing the warnings. Don’t give money to homeless people with signs, they’re probably going to buy drugs or alcohol with it. Or, the scam artists who aren’t really homeless and are asking for money instead of working. Then of course there will be a news story or suburban folklore of a vagrant type murdering people. So for years, I’ve done nothing.
A few years ago the kids and I made baggies with hand warmers, granola bars, bottled water, etc. I thought, “there, now I can do something“. Avoiding money because, ya know, all the warnings.
Then, just some months ago I read something that Mike Karl wrote, who has been a HUGE blessing to the homeless community in Lansing. Mike had posted about giving a woman a gift card. Someone had commented on Mike’s post that they saw the woman going in to the store and coming out with something that looked like alcohol in a bag. So they were “telling” on this lady. Do you know what Mike answered? It didn’t matter. He said it didn’t matter. Maybe she was buying alcohol or maybe she wasn’t. And if she was, maybe that was the only way she knew to make it thru that one day. And maybe if she can make it one more day, maybe she can find a better way tomorrow.
And . . man, it hit me like a ton of bricks. That old saying, What Would Jesus Do? Jesus would say, it doesn’t matter what she does with it. We are to love, to forgive, and to help one another. I’ve read the Bible . . it never once says that we are to judge each other. It never once says not to give because of what someone may do with the gift. Now, the Bible doesn’t say to be stupid either . . I mean, give a gift that is a blessing to someone. Obviously giving a speed boat or something would not be appropriate. And obviously giving a fifth of Scotch would not be appropriate either. If you give in love, than you give with compassion, wisdom, and understanding.
Tonight I am thankful for an eye opening moment that has changed me. What would I want if I was cold, homeless, and hopeless? I would not want a granola bar . . I don’t like granola bars. I would want food I like, warmth, a safe place to stay, and for someone to believe in me . . . that would go a long way. And that is what I am trying to give to others now, no judgement.