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For six years before coming to Alaska Christian College I was homeless on the streets of Anchorage. I knew the ins-and-outs of life on the streets and knew what it took to survive. God has greatly blessed me with a way out, a new life and eyes to see things for what they really are. The cause of my homelessness was a combination of spiritual and circumstantial issues in my life. Homelessness is a controversial issue because I believe people don’t understand the reason for their poverty.
People are in poverty due to circumstantial and spiritual factors. Christians should respond to the homelessness issue by following Jesus’ example of meeting the needs of the spiritually and physically impoverished. The first stance is from a non—believer’s point of View that is based on circumstances alone. Some examples of homelessness due to circumstances are: unemployment, having no family support, alcohol and drug use, family/ mental health issues and not making enough money.
The executive director of the Nassau-Suffolk Coalition for the Homeless on Long Island, Joan Noguera said that, “In the midst of the current real estate bubble, more and more families are becoming homeless.
This is because the housing market has skyrocketed and though the median income is $85,000, many earners don’t make 30% of that. In Long Island 40,000 people are homeless and 39% are children (Homelessness in America). Joan gave of example of the dilemma a single mother would face. She is looking for a rental unit for $900/month which is hard to find in that area.
She needs to have first and last month’s rent as well as two months’ security deposit, totaling $2700. Without the money her and her family remains homeless. (Homelessness in America). Homelessness in America is said to be a growing problem. It is said that excluding natural disasters, 3.5 billion people are likely to encounter homelessness within any year. There are government budgets that are specifically for homeless programs including: Section 8, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Homeless Assistance Grants, Most people start off in emergency homeless shelters where they are provided food, clothing and access [0 government and nonprofit services (Homelessness in America).
In an article titled Multiple Factors Contribute to Homelessness I read, “Homelessness results from a complex set of circumstances that require people to choose between food, shelter, and other basic needs,” The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) suggest that homelessness is caused by multiple factors that are all due to ones circumstance. These causes include: drop in housing that is affordable when simultaneously poverty is increasing, rise in unemployment, less public assistance available, the cost of health care, mental disability, domestic violence, and substance abuse The NSC also states that affordable housing and health care will bring an end to homelessness (Multiple Factors Contribute to Homelessness). The second stance comes from a view of someone who believes Jesus is their salvation, I believe that homelessness it not due to circumstance alone but the problem is spiritual as well. The Bible says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”, (New International Version Phil 4:19). An article found at liveintentionallyorg suggests that poverty is a symptom of a larger spiritual problem, In the book Revolution in World by K.P. Yohannan it explains the hunger problem in India. In their religion they have “sacred cows” that roam around eating tons of grain as people starvet.
Another animal protected by their religion is the rat, The rat is protected because they believe that the rat is the animal that receives reincarnated soulst Rats eat and destroy 20% of India‘s grain every yeart These people need to know about Jesus, and the God who loves them and cares about them being fed, The Bibles says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they?" (Mt. 6:26) (Spiritual Causes of Poverty) Lies are just as far from the truth in India as they are in the United States. The answer is not just the physical circumstances of people like the need food and clothing, but spiritual poverty needs to be addressed. Getting the message to non-believers and telling them about the Grace of God. An article titled Spiritual Causes ofPoverty says, “The cool thing is that when we help to end people’s spiritual poverty, often their physical poverty is reduced as well. Give a man a fish and you feed him for the day. Give a man The Fish and he no longer violates human rights, takes bribes, enslaves workers, exploits children, or worships rats as they defecate in his rice” (Spiritual Causes of Poverty} Jesus said in John 12:8 that, “You will always have the poor among you.“
So until we get to heaven there won’t be a day on earth where there is no one homeless or in poverty. It’s important to get to the root of the problem of homelessness. God is the God of hope, and we are the vessels God uses to shine a light in this dark world. So how do we respond as Christians? In James Chapter 2 we see that we are not to show favoritism but show respect to the poor, Luke 10 shows use we are to show love and compassion to everyone in need. Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” ln Matthew 25 we hear that we are to clothe and feed those who are without food and clothing Romans 12 says we are to provide fellowship and peace, Most importantly we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. An article on pastoral blog says, “This doesn’t always mean giving money or food, although we shouldn’t be closed to that. But it does mean being patient, being kind, not putting ourselves over the other people, but bearing others burdens and enduring them (Biblical Response to Homelessness).
As Christian I believe it is our responsibility to follow the example of Jesus and his ministry while on earth He prayed for people, he feed people when they were hungry, he cast out demons and he loved everyone Most importantly, he gave his life so we could live, So we need to go out and tell people about our Savior. We aren’t saved to keep our salvation to ourselves but spread the good news. In John 13 Jesus washes his disciple’s feet. In an article titled Following the Example of Jesus it says, “Jesus sets an example for us to follow After washing his disciple’s feet — an act of love, humility and service — He encourages us to follow his lead and serve one another Following the Example of Jesus). I am certain that people find themselves in poverty and without a home not only because of circumstances surrounding their lives but because they don’t know the Grace offered when they accept Jesus as their Savior. In John 10:10 Jesus says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fulli” Jesus loves you and God is happy to bless his children. Introducing people to Jesus can do so much more than addressing circumstances alone, If all you can do is love, you are doing a lot.
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