Watching a video tonight of a homeless boy being ignored by the people who passed him by, emotions began flooding over me. My mind went back to an experience I had over fifteen years ago and a lesson I learned.
During this time I was spending a large amount of time praying and would generally spend time praying in the afternoons before heading home from work. One day the Lord told me to start going to the church I was attending and pray. So I began going at least 4 times a week and either sit in the sanctuary or on the curb outside, mainly on the curb, and I would pray. As I would sit there most of the time my heart would be flooded with God’s love and compassion and I’d begin to cry as I prayed; this went on for weeks. One day the Lord told me he wanted me to pay more attention to the people around me while I prayed and so I made it a point to notice the people as they came in and went out of the church building. After weeks of the praying, crying, and watching, I began to realize something. No one ever stopped or took the time to speak to me. I was a young man sitting on the curb outside of a church crying and the church staff would come and go, many times look at me sitting there and then continue on. Then the Lord said, “ What good is it to do the works and study scripture if you don’t have the love and compassion to stop and help”?
I’ve heard all the excuses. If you get the homeless guy a hotel room to stay in he’ll just steal stuff or do “who knows what” in it, or if you give them money they’ll just buy alcohol or drugs. You need to be careful, you don’t want people to take advantage of you. Maybe I’m naïve but I’m really glad God didn’t say that. What would have happened if when Jesus was going to the cross the Father said, “ you know Jesus, they will just take this grace and misuse it.” Or, “now Jesus, you be careful and protect yourself, don’t let them take advantage of you”!
Could it really be that the reason we allow all these unpleasant possibilities govern our actions is because we really don’t believe that love has the power to transform. Maybe love isn’t so concerned about protecting itself but always trusts and lays down it’s own life and agenda for others because it knows that love never fails. Maybe having the love and compassion of our Father means your compelled to help. Maybe I’m just naïve and am letting my emotions control me instead of wisdom?