Reading through some stories on my Facebook feed, I came across a plea from a church asking for assistance in keeping open and expanding on a homeless shelter that the church ran. I thought, “This is great! A church actually doing what churches were designed to do-help people.”
But then I started to read the comments. Overwhelmingly negative.
Homeless people are dangerous.
Homeless people do drugs.
What will homeless people do when the shelter is not open.
Homeless panhandlers are just gaming the system.
Homeless people need to get jobs.
Homeless people have mental health problems.
Not in my neighborhood, homeless people!!!
All this from the very people who attend this church or live in the community and attend churches down the street or around the corner. It makes no sense to me how people identify as Christian but have zero Christian characteristics: no mercy, no grace, no love, no giving, no caring.
I don’t know. Maybe I attended the wrong churches growing up. Though I distinctly recall reading about how we are to treat others, especially those in need. Apparently this “new Christianity” has no time for the very message that Christ Himself preached:
But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 NLT)
The message is pretty clear, isn’t it? If we are going to profess this life, then we better be able to live it.