Posted by: Kerry Spencer | April 20, 2009

Thunder thoughts

Yesterday was the famed “Thunder Over Louisville.” For those who don’t know, this is the largest annual air show and fireworks extravaganza in the nation. Somewhere around 700,000 people attended this year. I was working at Jeff. St. that Saturday morning and many of our homeless guests would stop and chat with me about it. One guy made the comment that his favorite part is that he can carry his bag around and not look homeless. That’s because everyone and their brother is carrying their junk to and from the massive shindig.

That small comment got me thinking about the fact that the emotional and social aspects of homelessness can be just as distressing as the physical aspect. The shame and humiliation from being labeled “homeless” can rob people of their dignity. As Christians, we must realize that being created in the image of God Almighty gives every person inherent dignity. Thus we must strive to treat each other accordingly

Something I’ve struggled with at times is how to make my homeless friends feel comfortable when we take them to church. Commonly when they meet new people some basic questions arise: “How do you know these guys?” “What do you do for a living?” “Where do you live?” For many homeless folks answering those questions is probably more painful than some of their physical strains.

Think of your response when you see someone you suspect to be homeless. For most people, the natural response is to look away or just find a way to ignore them. How do you think that makes a person feel? They must wonder, why are they so afraid of me? What is wrong with me? How terrible it must feel to be continually treated like a second-class citizen . . . or even worse.

The foolish, the weak, the lowly, and the despised . . . are these descriptions of the homeless? Maybe. But according to Paul (1 Corinthians 1:27-29), these are descriptions of the type of people the Lord has called. So maybe we’ve got more in common with the homeless than we think.

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