The route to fixing homelessness is difficult. Christians prefer to overlook the issue of homelessness so they can avoid feeling guilty. The homeless population undergoes dehumanization and experiences unfair circumstances, while the American population claims to be too busy to make an effort.
Nevertheless, as college students, we have a prime opportunity to make a change. I want to encourage you to do more than just pray or give monetarily. The only way to enact change is to make connections and form bonds. If we want to make a change, we must take action.
Christians try to justify their lack of empathy to the homeless. A lack of time spent among the homeless leads to misconceptions. One opinion blog, Bashfeed, even advocates the “otherness” of the homeless and even calls homeless people lazy.
“When I see someone with their hand out, I see someone who chose to ignore what he does have to make himself a better life, and instead decided to do nothing but put his hand out,” Marc Mega wrote.
This opinion is becoming more common, something Christians should be seriously concerned about. We’re called to help others, regardless of the circumstances. We need to stop wasting our energy with worrying and judging.
There are some institutions who understand the realities behind homelessness. For example, The Portland Rescue Mission is an organization that understands how getting a job can be extremely difficult for the homeless. They aim to advocate exactly how difficult it is by creating a unique perspective.
“Getting a job is especially challenging for a homeless person who lacks clean clothes, showers, transportation, or a permanent address,” Portland Rescue Mission said in a press release.
Without crucial components, such as clothing and shelter, many homeless people feel they are doomed to the circuit of poverty.
We live in a society where many people do not want to interfere with the homeless because of the stereotypes.
As Christians, we need to acknowledge the definite problem. We should not use the “out of sight out of mind” mentality. In Edmond, many of us do not have daily interactions with the homeless. Yet, within a 30-mile radius many people are struggling daily to have even the smallest factors that provide hope for a better life.
The first step in making a change is the ability to acknowledge and raise awareness of the suffering. Christians would feel an obligation to help their physical family if they saw them on the street; yet, they let their neighbors suffer.
Christians need to stand up for the homeless, even if it involves sacrificing a comfortable lifestyle. Lack of compassion is not an admirable quality. Christians must stop living comfortably and start making a change. In college, we have the chance to stand up and share our voice. We must take advantage of this opportunity. It’s time to inform yourself on how you can start to make a change. We don’t get to say no – our Christian duty calls us to do so.