‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” – Matthew 25:35-40
When I was 18, I had to leave my home to escape a life-threatening situation. Someone opened up their home and allowed me to stay there for almost a year while my family and I got back on our feet.
Should he have turned his back on me because there were other homeless people in his area?
Should I have been forced to remain in the same town as the person who wanted to kill me because other people needed help too?
I keep seeing people talk about homeless veterans today, comparing their need to the needs of the refugees escaping Syria. How can we think about helping these refugees when we have homeless veterans in our own country to worry about?
I’ll be honest. It’s upsetting to me.
I know what it’s like to be forced to leave the people and the place you love and call home. I know what it’s like to have to humble yourself and ask for help because you can’t help yourself out of the situation.
Do you know what that’s like?
Were there other homeless people that needed help at the same time I needed help? Yes.
And we all deserved to be treated with love and compassion. We all deserved to be treated with dignity.
Helping me didn’t mean nobody could help anyone else.
Helping refugees doesn’t mean we can’t also help homeless veterans.
We have a lot of luxuries in this country. If you think you don’t have any of those luxuries, take a minute and really think about that. Do you have a smartphone plan? Do you have cable? Do you eat out? Do you take vacation trips? Most of us do.
If you’re honestly concerned about helping homeless veterans, that’s wonderful. Cut out some of your luxury spending, and donate the money to veterans. I think that’s a noble thing to do. It’s certainly more effective than talking about helping veterans.
Just remember there is no either/or here. We don’t have to help the refugees at the expense of homeless people in our country. We have plenty of resources here. We can help everyone. We just have to stop being so greedy. It’s really not that complicated.