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January 06, 2006

Comments

I remember an occasion where I once offered a panhandler some food. I proceeded to exit the fastfood joint and handed him some food and moved on. I watched from around the corner as he opened his sandwich, took a bite, then trashed it asap so he could get back to asking for money. It really soured me on the experience, but the idea of sitting or standing with him and chatting beyond the gift might've been more productive.

I would be interested in more thoughts on talking with panhandlers. Like those who specifically ask for money so they can buy weed (or ask for weed, if you have it) or those who clearly look like they are not homeless (young, have skateboards and relatively clean appearance, hanging with friends, etc.); that sort of thing.

Thanks, Steve, for this encouragement and example. If you look around you, there are scores of people like this -- "invisible" people, all created in the image of God, all worthy of a smile, a handshake, a meal, recognition that they exist.

Something else you (and I) can do -- look for the people in your office, the grocery store, your neighborhood, who you see everyday (or week) but who might as well be machines for all the interaction they get -- the cleaning/custodial staff, trashmen, stockboys, mail-carriers, cash register clerks, hotel maids, security guards. Take five seconds out of your day and say "hello" to them -- it may just turn into a nice discussion.

On the "panhandler" front, my wife carries canned goods in her car (so they won't spoil, obviously) and some spare can-openers (though many have them already, she says).

"I reached out to grasp his hand."

Steve, there's a reason why cops and paramedics wear gloves (hep A, B, C, staph, etc.). Given the hygenic problems the homeless face you were playing Russian roulette. I'm not being squeamish; when I was in India, I changed money for lepers (leprosy is hard to catch and requires prolonged contact).

I will try to use your strategy with these who are as you pointed out our fellow image-bearers of God.

Just a note: the image of God is or was the spirit of man created in righteousness. This image is being refashioned in those who will submit to his righteousness in Christ. We are not to provide for the immoral because they are "made in God's image." Not everyone is God's child. It is a misinformed viewpoint that we are to take care of the ungodly and continue to meet their needs regardless of their life choices. This is the whole problem with today's social gospel. It is preached by people who have no true intimacy with Christ, no power of God or true righteousness in their own lives. This is why the biggest propagators of the social gospel are consistently caught living very immoral lifestyles. The want sin and God, the world and God’s blessings; therefore they demand it for others as well. It reminds me of an African preacher that came to our church and said he does not understand how American “Christians” can join forces with the homosexuals, prostitutes, immoral sluggards, abortionists and vote for the same candidates (democrats). He just hasn’t been here long enough to know how American “Christians” live.

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