"Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not his own interests, but also each for the interest of others.”
Continually helping others can be difficult. We, unfortunately, set our own criteria on who and when we should help. After all, we have this ideology that "They brought it on themselves" or "In this day and age, with so much available, how can he be in that state?" From this we set a blind eye and move forward with our day.
I live in a city that has homeless citizens on intersections with cups asking for monetary hand-outs. My friends admonish me often saying, "You shouldn't hand out those dollars. They shouldn't be allowed on these street corners, and you're only encouraging them." They add that the police need to enforce the laws of panhandlers more literally so this all goes away.
But I rifle through my purse each time trying to find change and dollar bills to hand out. Often these migrants share some of their stories, "I was up North and came down to help Mom. She's since died, and I just can't get work." Or, "I got sick and lost my home. My health care stopped, and now I'm trying to get back on my feet."
The money I hand out doesn't seem to be the brunt of what they want. Sometimes just sharing their story eases the pain. I can always tell when a smile lights up their faces because someone cared.
I'm originally from Kensington, Philadelphia. Right now it is known to be the opioid capital of the country. Tenants line Tulip Street and Kensington Ave. with makeshift housing. Their lives revolve around getting their next fix. Over the summer a colleague of mine went on a church outreach to the area. I was appalled. "Why would you do such a thing?" I asked. "There is all kinds of violence around there, you could be caught in crossfire from gangs."
He told me, "These people had lives before they lived under the "L". Many of them are victims of tragic situations. They are grateful for our outreach and the food we bring them."
That stunned me for a moment. For some reason I had forgotten that people, all people have a past. They are not just victims of today, but dabbled in the freedom life brought previously. Some how they had just gotten lost.
As you read this today, I encourage you to help others. ALL OTHERS. Not just the ones you deem worthy of your time. If someone needs you to be there. BE THERE. They are all children of God. Ask God what he wants you to do - He will answer and direct you.
This Week's Meditation:
Teach me to "Always help others."
Help me to meditate: I can do anything with your help, God.
Teach me to not rely on my ideologies of who I should and should not help.
Remind me that I can not do it alone.
Meditate on this for several minutes a day. Allow various thoughts to come into your mind. And realize God has you in his arms always.