A Christian’s Thought on the Homeless Crisis

Those who live on the street are not a new thing. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, we called them hobo’s. A good example of one is depicted in the film “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” played by Nick Nolte. I lived in Hollywood in the 80’s and 90’s and they were there. I worked at Sunset Gower Studios at Sunset Blvd. and Gower St. as a production assistant on Days of Our Lives. One of my jobs was having scripts printed. Several times a day I would leave the studios and walk a half block to the printing shop. And each time I did I would see an old lady on the side walk with a horribly runny nose and pneumonia sounding cough. It led me to tears several times and I wondered “why doesn’t someone do something?!” She is there every day. While Rolls Royce’s are driving by. I just didn’t understand. I didn’t know what to do. And I still in many ways don’t. But, now it isn’t a random lady or Nick Nolte “Hobo,” but communities, blocks long of these people in tents. Wandering the streets. And it sadly has become what seems to be the norm for California.   As a Christian, I am vexed and heartbroken by this problem (as I’m sure many people are.)  I was recently at a stoplight and a young man (maybe 22,) was begging for money on the island. And I thought…this isn’t right. This is a healthy looking young man. And we have the lowest unemployment rate in years. Why is he out begging for money? Is it because society has made it acceptable? That it is an alternative to working? I don’t know. But, I think about my own son and if he found himself homeless, drug addicted or mentally ill, and I wasn’t living to help him, I would hope society would direct him to help. Not just throw money at him. These people need hope. Ask anyone who has gone through serious depression (which is really a loss of hope.) What do they want to do? Sleep, escape life, not shower, just zone out. That’s what many of these people seem to be doing. I don’t know their stories and I am in no way judging. There for the grace of God go I. But, we as a society have to find a way to give them hope again and help them to start to live again in a way where they welcome change.   If this were my son, I would want him to have, yes a place to have a roof over his head where he is out of danger, but structure to his day, accountability for the help he is getting (working to pay back ,) and most importantly, the gospel of Jesus Christ. If there is ANYTHING that will give the most down and out hope, it is the GOSPEL. It’s as if Jesus is speaking to just them when He says: “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in spirit and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30. If I was homeless and alone, that message would give me great comfort. But, they don’t need just the love of Jesus, they need his whole teaching.   Jesus heals the man in John 5:8 and tells him to: “pick up his mat and walk.” But, later tells him: “You are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” John 5:14.   Jesus helps us and heals us. But He doesn’t do it so we can go on in sin, drug abuse, self destruction, hurting others. He heals us so we can grow up in Christ and live the abundant life.  And those who are living in tents and wander aimlessly have the right to that abundant life as much as anyone.   Maybe the reason we only had random hobo’s back in the day was because this society honored God. And in honoring God, we had a society of order, accountability, laws, commitment to family, and to those who were truly a danger to themselves or others. If people were in a really sick way, we would order them institutionalized until they were well. In Hollywood just recently (and I’m sorry this is graphic and frankly disgusting,) but a woman leaving a restaurant and walking to her car had a bucket of warm diarrhea poured on her head by a homeless man. This is a sick evil individual to do this. And there was another story of a man defecating in a Safeway store aisle in the upscale Marina District in San Francisco. This is behavior that cannot be tolerated. It is a health hazard and it is unlivable. As a Christian I continually think and pray how this can be helped. What can I do? I know we do need to make our lawmakers accountable. Demand they act to find compassionate ways to help these people. And give those who are truly the most hopeless hope. Not just in some handout money. Yes, there is a need for shelter. But also, in a way to have a new life. Stop making the Gospel of Jesus Christ the enemy of the government. It is not. It is the greatest thing ever given to this world. The cities in this world that are run by liberalism (which seems to mock Christianity or at least demand the Bible be changed to fit their demands) are the worst in hopelessness. I was in San Francisco recently and I saw a pretty young woman who looked ragged and dirty walking in the freezing temperatures barefoot just gazing into space. That is a lost life that needs saving. I know personally someone who can save that life. His name is Jesus. I pray He can use me to help. I pray this country will stop shoving him away. He does miracles. And if we ever needed a miracle to turn this problem around…it is now.   Sharing my song “Don’t You Know” (who you are child of God) as a prayer for those lost and suffering. “Jesus knew you long before the time that you were born, your identity is written in His word.”

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