Here's an interesting fact...I think I've almost been cussed out more as a pastor than I have been in all my soccer playing years. And keep in mind that I used to have a reputation on the pitch of being an instigator, so to speak. Ask my wife...she'll explain.
But recently I had another one of those rare opportunities that found a homeless man looking for some food. The short story is that after he heard my response to his request for a gift card he "laughed" while giving me mocking applause and cussing me out. Why? Because I didn't give him that free gift card for the grocery store and instead asked him if he would be able to come back in later so I could find him some food.
Never once did I tell this man that I didn't care. Not once did I tell him "sorry I can't help." Not once did I ask him to leave, even when he became belligerent and started using non-creative language with me. Instead, I sat down beside him and asked questions and tried to engage in conversation.
But even little questions like "how long have you been on the street?" were met with harsh words and an attitude like I was stupid for inquiring. Like somehow I should have known his life story.
May I be so bold to say that I know why some people choose not to interact with the homeless. I can see why someone who has experienced a situation like that would choose not to get into a similar predicament. It's not fun or easy.
I know I'm called to look after the poor, the homeless, the fatherless, the widows, the orphans, and the list goes on. But can I be honest with you? It's hard sometimes. When my phone rings on a Wednesday to tell me there's another person at the front asking for a handout, my first response is not always pretty. Nor is it always Christ-like. And for that I am ashamed.
I'll keep trying though. And I'll keep asking God to help me love each person who walks through that door. But I doubt this will ever get any easier, will it?