Walking a Mile in Their Shoes

Hey blog-watchers!  Sorry I abandoned you for a while- life’s been crazy.  I’ve had a lot of intense experiences lately though so I’m going to share the thoughts that are racing around in my mind.  I’m more involved in service activities than ever and my eyes are being opened every day to the injustices we allow to continue in the world around us.

It has often been said that you cannot truly understand someone until you walk in their shoes.  While I will probably(hopefully) never experience true hunger or homelessness, I got a glimpse into the life that millions of people must live every day.  I participated in a retreat that involved being homeless for twenty-four hours and it was the most eye opening experience I have had so far.  We walked many miles that day, because many people cannot afford a car and the closest Salvation Army(only place to get cheap clothes and other necessities) was pretty far from where we started.  We didn’t know where our next meal would come from and where we were going to sleep.  A local youth group brought us lunch and were told that we were really homeless college students.  They were visibly nervous and apprehensive- to be on the other side of the serving line made my perspective do a complete 360.

We ate dinner at a shelter and discovered that the people there were not so different from us.  One woman shared my love for books.  Another woman had a perfectly good life until she lost her job and everything went downhill.  She said that she never imagined she would end up homeless.  Then there was a woman who broke my heart in two.  The hope was gone from her eyes.  I’ll never forget what she said when someone asked her if she was alright: “Just tired.  I’ve been homeless for three months.  Being homeless is just really tiring.”  Later we found out that she also hadn’t eaten in three days.  I get hungry if I go without eating for an hour!  All I wanted to do was give her hope but I didn’t know how to.

Before we entered the shelter though, the highlight of the experience occurred.  While we were waiting for the shelter to open this man named Harvey came up to us.  He started talking to our group and then broke out into songs about Jesus.  Soon he was preaching his heart out and I can honestly say it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  Sometimes we talk about being able to see Christ in others but this man simply shone with Christ’s love like I’ve never seen in anyone else.

One of my favorite bible passages s is Matthew 25:35-40 which says, “‘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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to 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? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

When Harvey looked into my eyes it was like Jesus was looking right into my heart and asking me to serve him.

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