I’m right in the middle of the book What Difference Do It Make? which is the follow up book to Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. You may remember that I’ve mentioned this book several times, and the huge impact it had on me. You may remember that I’ve gone to our local homeless/soup kitchen a few times and just struggled with what I saw there.
So, when I read parts of this book tonight, I just had to share with you. And, again, if you haven’t read Same Kind of Different As Me please, I beg of you…READ IT!! 🙂
From What Difference Do it Make? and Denver himself…
“A lotta homeless folks has been hurt and abused since we was little bitty. At one time or another we loved or was loved by somebody. We had hope. We believed. Then hope flew out the door and everything was gone. For a lot of us there come a time when nobody was willin to take us in. Nobody was willin to help in no kinda way. All the doors was slammed in our faces, and next thing you know, we just sittin on the curb with everybody passin us by, won’t even look at us.
Even though you is still a human bein inside, even though you mighta been a little boy once with a mama, even though you mighta been married once with a house and a job, now you ain’t nothin. And once that happens, people rather come up and pet a stray dog than even say hello.
Sometimes we become homeless ’cause we done some real bad thing, somethin so bad that everybody in our life just stop lovin and trustin us. And when you ain’t got no one to love you and trust you, you becomes like a wild animal, hidin and livin in the dark. Even when you see the homeless fellas on the street that look real cheerful and happy, that’s just a mask. Underneath is a swamp of misery, but they puttin on that mask so they can get through the day.”
This description, straight from a real, live homeless man makes me want to cry. For a human being to feel like I would rather pet a stray dog than talk to him? How can we, as Christians, possibly say that we’ve been doing our job when there are still people right down the street…right next door to us…who feel this way? Lord, have mercy.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts, too.
And one last quote from the book, from Denver’s perspective again.
Most a’ the people on the streets know Jesus loves ’em. But they figure nobody else loves ’em but Jesus. Street people done heard more sermons than most preachers ever preached. Lotta good folks come ’round the ‘hood, talking ’bout Jesus this, Jesus that. Tellin us about Him is one thing…who gon’ stick around and show us Jesus?
And this is my fear. This is where I pray for courage, heart and authentic love to show these people. And, honestly, for me…that means more than a “one time” visit to the soup kitchen to check off my community service project for the month. They need to know that someone loves them. They need me. They need you. They need someone to show them Jesus. They need someone to show them love.