A Facebook friend asked, "Why don't churches feed, house, and provide services for homeless people?"
I was really offended. I'm a Christian and to me the question is an implicit insult: "Christians are hypocrites because they talk about being charitable but they don't really walk the walk."
1.) Homelessness is really, really complicated. Homeless people are not all puppies and kittens. They often do bad things to people who try to help them, like make threats and start fires that end up killing people, damaging property, and inconveniencing many. I speak from experience.
I have worked one-on-one with homeless people and I've gotta say, puppies and kittens they were not. The ones I worked with were addicts who had betrayed and let down loved ones, mentally ill people who refused to take medication, and randomly violent. One refused to use restrooms. Think about that. He wore his waste products in his clothes. How to help such a person?
So. Anyone who says that the solution to homelessness is a roof has probably never actually interacted with a real, live homeless person.
2.) Churches DO work with the homeless. That's a simple fact one can discover in about twenty seconds with a phone call to a local church. So implying on facebook that churches don't work with the homeless is not true and it is not helpful.
3.) But here is the real answer.
If you do what it looks like Sophia Loren is doing in the photo, you end up with a distorted view of the world.
Looking at other people and thinking, "Why don't you live up to my expectations? Why are you lacking something I think you should have? What can I see in you that I can latch on to as inferior in some way? And harp on? Publicly?"
Why not look at other people and focus on *what they are doing right*?
Why not look at the churches in your neighborhood that you find it so easy to put down and criticize, and look at the programs that they do offer?
Here on Facebook we are all on display.
Satan lives in me as much as he lives in anyone.
I look at other people and Satan whispers in my ear.
"Huh. That guy says he's a Christian, but when I asked him for help with my job search, he never even responded. And he has lots of contacts."
I give in to anger, resentment, and envy.
And Jesus whispers in my other ear, "Stop looking at what that guy did not do for you. Stop focusing on how he let you down.
Look at all the good that guy does. Look at how hard he works on his causes. How much he is there for his extended family. How many charities he donates to."
When you focus on people's good sides, on what they are doing right, you see that your previous focus, the fault-finding, demeaning, envious, judgmental focus, offered you a twisted picture.
Now, go to a church, and ask about the programs they offer. And be surprised. And impressed. And rather than putting them down on Facebook, join in, or at least donate.