Monday, March 17, 2014

The Paradox of Feeding The Homeless.

During holidays, the drumbeats of “feed the homeless” grow louder and louder and sometimes perish with the end of the holiday as the homeless after being fed, recede back to their homelessness. Even those whose brother or sister is homeless, talk about feeding the homeless. I was talking with a lady who told me that her brother was homeless and that she took him out for lunch twice a week. I am sure that Jesus was padding her on the back and head for the great show of kindness to the homeless brother. That was a great accomplishment for the wonderful sister. Feeding the homeless is a noble act because on the day of reckoning, only those who have kept the word of God will inherit the kingdom. The goats who disobeyed will be kept away from the sheep who obeyed (Mt 25:33-34). Albeit, it was a battle that was won and lost. In this passage (James 2:15-17), James is implying that while faith in Jesus assures the believer salvation, the faith thereof produces holy fruits (actions). That is converting the tenets into concrete actions on human beings. For example, how does that help a homeless person if we give him/her a dime and wish him/her well; meanwhile, we live in a mansion with our wife and child? How does that help them in their homelessness? Firstly, the dime will take them nowhere, and secondly, they are still going to have the grass as their bed and the sky for their roof.
Isaiah explained to the people in their attempt to please God with fasting that a true fast stop wicked ways, make life easy for people to live, free the oppressed, feed the hungry, take the homeless into your homes, clothe those with no clothes and stay in touch with your family. That will give you a great influence, it will increase your health, people will know about your righteousness and God will reward you with his glory. (IS 58:6-8). As a civil responsibility, God told the Israelites that if one of theirs became poor that he could no more pay his bills, they should assist him and also take him to their home. Nowadays we assist, but we leave the destitute outside and call them homeless (Lev 25:35-36). It is important to remember that anytime we show kindness to the poor, we are lending to God (Prov 19:17) who never defaults on his debts. I am amazed how the Master himself did not have somewhere “to lay his head (Mt 8:20)”, yet his disciples and followers have mansions and still feel as though they must hoard many more. How then do we expect to lay up our treasures in heaven if we cannot give to those in need?
Many fear taking homeless people because they erroneously think that they are “potential criminals” who could also rape their daughters or wives. First and foremost, the bible reads, “Jesus told his disciples that anyone who will lose his life for his sake will gain it back because there is nothing that will profit anyone if they were to gain the whole earth and lose their soul (Lk 9: 24-25; Lk 17:33; Mk 8: 35-36; Mt 16:25-26; Mt 10:39.). Either Jesus was a trickster or a mad man for repeating such falsehood, or he was God and knew that he went to prepare a place beside his father so that where he was, his brethren should be there too. Perhaps we should remind everyone that his brethren are those who hear and do the things that the father has commanded (Mk 3:31-35; Mt 12:50). We are either the brethren of Jesus because we do the will of the father or we are not and we do our own will.
Secondly, the theory or belief that every homeless is a “potential criminal” is unsustainable because according to this theory then, every homeless person is a criminal and everyone with a home is a non-potential criminal. It is not every homeless person who is a criminal. Doesn't the bible say we should take in strangers in? Wasn’t God aware there will be all of these?
Thirdly, the theory will mean that all homeless people are only men. Homeless people are all men? What about the children who are homeless then? What about the women who are homeless? Oh, so all the women, children and men are all potential criminals because they are homeless? 
A few years back in 2000, while sharing bread at the park on Joseph Lowery St. on the park by the Asby train station in Atlanta, GA, a young man greeted me. He took his own bread and went and sat down. While I was ready to leave, he introduced himself to me as a homeless Cameroonian. I asked him why he was homeless, and he told me. I told him, “Brother George, (his name), we are going home to my house. People like David, Keisha, Orlando, Leyland and many others who knew George very well, can testify that he was a great neighbor to them, very handy, very kind and compassionate very creative who finally became a Tax Man. No child was molested and no woman was raped! Instead, the street we shared bread together saw crime greatly reduced.
I once took six homeless people (three couples), but I am still alive. They lived with me for more than 6 months each, and we never had a single evil incident. If they were a nuisance, they were to themselves and not to any other person. Just these examples peter out your theory of potential criminals. I wished these people you try to feed know how you look at them; "potential criminals". There are very few evil homeless people just like there are very many evil homebound people. That does not mean I have not incur a lost in keeping people. I had a lady come and steal 64 pairs of shoes, 24 laptops and numerous digital cameras I was to ship to Africa for business. Does that mean I should never take anyone home? Doesn’t the Bible say “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not? As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Gal 6:10).” If we do not want to be good to strangers, we at least have the brethren. How come Christians are homeless in America; a country that was founded by Christian pilgrims?  The same country where you can be slapped for not wishing people Merry Christmas.
Wasn’t God aware that putting his word into practice could cost us, even our lives? Therefore, that excuse is lame! Who says that all homeless people are from the kingdom of darkness? I read about a church adopting one church member per homeless. Don't those members and the pastor have families? The Bible says bring the stranger; it does not qualify the stranger as of the world or as of God. It is strange to hear Christians say that there is nowhere in the Bible where they adjured to take the homeless into their homes. Now, read these: "And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. 36 Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee." Lev 25:35-36. "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. “Is 58:6-8. James 2: 15-17. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. “Your theory is very weak because you are more about your own interest than of the Lord. If you want to follow Christ, you must accept his cross. Isn't that what you post here daily? How then are you selecting which part and type of cross you are carrying? For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mt 16:26-26)
If I will shun my door and home to homeless people because a few people came and robbed me, then I do agree with the men who say that women are gold diggers because a few women they dated siphoned their wealth away. Furthermore, others argue that no true child of will ever be homeless. If God does not leave his children homeless, why then are so many Christians homeless? Whose children are they? By espousing this theory, you indirectly endorse the theory that a Christian cannot be sick because God heals the sick.  Deeper, you mean that a child of God cannot be killed in a war, an accident nor could he even face famine. I am not sure the famine ravage Christians of Africa need to still believe in God then since they face hunger daily. Consequently, the whole of Ethiopia and many other famine ravaged areas are godless. I see why some of you do not preach to your neighbors in America, but are great evangelists trouping to Africa and Asia. When you even look at every homeless person as a potential criminal, you mean that everyone who has shelter is a good person; thus, establishing that the evil nature of people depends on their social status. The rich are righteous and the poor and godless. On the other hand, evil nature in humans does not depend on their abodes, color, education or any other status; the human being is inherently corrupt. We can be foolhardy with philosophies, but every human life should be sacred to us, no matter their social status. Therefore, it is wrong to live in empty houses while pretending to feed the homeless or alleviate the homeless of their homelessness.
Until then, all feed the homeless but also take them into your home.

St Arrey of Ntenako

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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