Familiar stranger

Through US history we have had people who are vagrant.  Even the founding fathers, the people who came from Europe to escape religious persecution were in effect vagrant and homeless.  They left everything to try to find a better way for themselves. God blessed them, and if you are a US citizen now, we are blessed by Him with a country that has a bounty of food, clean water, land for living and agriculture, and possibilities.  The settlers moving West were vagrants.  They left everything back East to find a new place, freedom, a place of their own.  The vagrants of the 1930’s with the Great Depression were searching for a better place or job or something so that they could live and support their families.  What is so different about vagrants: homeless, now?  Nothing.  Sure there are those who are on the streets because they want what this world offers with alcohol and drug abuse, prostitution and the vice that exists.  There are those who get up every morning and put their faith in the Lord, trust that He will guide them for a great day, maybe a home, a meal, a job, something that will be successful.  Success can be defined as simply as having food to eat and dry clothes.  Or a shower.  Then maybe tomorrow, that person can find a job because they have clean clothes and smell good enough to be “normal” or considered hygienic in today’s society.  For the record, there are some Amish farmers that have smelled worse than some of the homeless I’ve met.  The homeless may look dirty, but that is because there is no resource of clean water to bathe in available to them.  Many don’t choose to be dirty.

We need to not judge these people.  There could be someone walking among you who has no home, but is clean and well kept, educated, and well spoken.  Look people in the eye and say hello.  Have courtesy.  Even if the person isn’t homeless, but is the same familiar stranger you’ve seen on the bus, or walking in the morning, or pass on the sidewalk every day, yet you never took the time to say hello.  For a Christian, it should be easy to say hello and God bless you.  Either way, it can make a difference in that person’s life by just saying hello.  It’s time to stop being familiar strangers.  It’s time to stop walking with blinders.  It’s time to stop judging other people for how they look.  Jesus does not want us to do this.  God doesn’t care what people wear to church, he wants them and their hearts in the church.  We aren’t meant as humans to be solitary.  The way to step out of being solitary is to reach out to someone.  To make a change.  To change the way we think about someone.

There is a game called geocaching using GPS coordinates and hand held GPS devices or phones to find hidden boxes all over the world.  I saw a post for one near where I was recently.  I was disappointed to see in the description that the hidden cache was near a favorite hang out for homeless, to use caution when approaching.  How about just using plain compassion and say hello, maybe explain what you’re doing to those homeless.  They would probably think it is entertaining as all get out.  Maybe help you find the cache too.

Please, stop judging each other in this world.  We have enough sadness, heartache, pain, and destruction without contributing to an individual’s pain and discomfort.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Say hello to the familiar stranger.  You might be saying hello to Jesus.


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