X

Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Loving the Unlovely

I just read Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski, a true story of two college guys who wanted to experience life as homeless people. They spent months on the streets of cities like Denver, Washington D.C., Portland, San Francisco, San Diego and my hometown, Phoenix.

What they learned is that “street people” are at best invisible and at worst reviled. They attended church every Sunday and were not very warmly received in most because of how they looked and smelled. They were even thrown off the property of one church lawn in our own city.

Of Phoenix the author says, “We experienced big programs, big churches, and big talk, without much love in action, at least for two unappealing transients like us.”

I don’t think any of us sees ourselves as unloving or unwelcoming but I’m not sure how excited any of us would be if two dirty, foul-smelling men wanted to occupy the seat next to ours in church or at Sunday brunch. I’ll admit I’ve been the first one to beat a retreat on occasion.

We may judge them as being lazy or drug addicts and almost always try to escape before they ask us for something. Yankoski points out that the people he met on his “experiment” didn’t suddenly become homeless panhandlers. It happened slowly over time and was typically precipitated by events that damaged their lives horrifically.

The point I’m heading toward is that we need to remember the sacrifices Christ made and the attitudes he demonstrated. I’m not just talking about the Big One (His own terrible, painful death), but the time Jesus spent with the smelly, unappealing people He encountered every day. He talked with them, ate with them, touched them and genuinely cared for them and expects as much from us.

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Matthew 25:45

Do we really want the reputation of Big programs but Little compassion? Whether it is someone who is malodorous or just has a stinky disposition, we need to walk toward them, take a moment to listen, encourage them and see how we can help meet an immediate need. A granola bar, a smile, a kind word or a listening ear may feel like the love of God to someone who isn’t used to being bestowed those gifts.

Will people we meet know we are Christians by our love? Do you need to make some changes so your alignment with Christ is more apparent? It will come back to you in a big way.

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

 

Can God change your life?

God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God. You can also send us your prayer requests.

We encourage users who wish to comment on our material to do so through our CBN Facebook page.

Loading Webform

Can We Pray For You?

Error: There was an internal error submitting your form. Please check your information and try again or call us at 1-800-759-0700

Get FREE "He Cares for You" teaching sheet

Build up your faith as you mediate on inspiring Scripture verses of how much God loves you

Get more than a Sunday sermon. Get to know others seeking God’s guidance and wisdom for life.
We are here to help and encourage you! Send a prayer request now, or call 1‑800‑700‑7000
Can God change your life? God made it possible for you to know. Discover God's peace now.
Download the free myCBN app. Share your prayer requests, receive prayer and pray for others!
Living the Christian life is a journey. Discover steps to bring you closer to Christ.
Get Email Updates
Give Now