By Heather Mason
Heather did an experiment by pretending to be homeless for a day and see how people would treat her differently. Here is what she found:
I believe that the homeless are some of the most caring people in America…
Yesterday I spent a day as a homeless person. I was scared going in to this thinking that the homeless would never believe me, and I expected the by standers to mock me. What I found was the homeless took me under their wing. They gave me their food, and told me their story of how they were now living on the streets. The sad thing was it was so simple.
One man was married and had a son. The son died and then the marriage broke up. He become depressed and lost everything he owned. He was the very one that handed me his sandwich. He then proceeds to take me to a center for the homeless, where I was once again fed and given the opportunity to take a shower. I continued walking the streets and people would approach me not the ones that had money, not the ones who were eating out, or Christmas shopping. No, they simply passed by, trying not to make eye contact with me.
But the homeless approached me; they would ask, Is this your first day on the streets?” “Are you okay?” “I can help you find a place to stay for the night.” I was so humbled. What do you say, how do you respond to someone who has nothing and offering you everything? I was at a loss of words.
I believe that due to the things that they have seen or experienced, they are more likely to look out for those in need. They know what it feels like to go without. They know the pain of loss.
They are family and they have a deep care that we as Americans often forget. I believe we as Americans need to step up and take care of those in need.
I believe that the Christian community needs to get out of their comfort zone, and bring food to the needy. Not just physical food but the Bread of Life, manna from Gods word. And give them the Living Water, so they will never thirst again.
They need more than physical needs met they need a listening ear, a caring heart and a willing spirit to get dirty, to hug them when they smell, to embrace them as they are. This could change the Christians of America, as we go in; I believe we would be changed. Your life cant stay the same.
Living in the midst of the loving homeless community, you cant help but walk away changed, even if you do only spend a day with them. I believe that Jesus would have walked with them, loved on them and taken them in. I was forever changed not just by how I viewed the homeless on the streets but my response to them when I am on the other side. This has to change. I want to make a difference; I want to be Jesus with skin on.
I think I encountered Jesus while I was on the streets. He was in the one who helped me find food, and the man that asked if he could pray for me. Jesus is alive and well and He truly made Himself known to me yesterday. I am grateful, I am encouraged and I am changed.
If you liked this article, check out: Lessons From a Christian Festival
Heather is serving the poor in Africa as a full-time missionary. You can visit Heather’s blog and read more of her stories here .