But I’ve also had some moving experiences. “You know how I am going to pay you back?” one mentally disabled young man asked earnestly. “Someday, when I have money, I am going to help somebody else.” The printed word cannot convey the simple sincerity he radiated.
There are a million excuses to pass the homeless by, many of them valid. I use them all almost every day. For many of these people, struggling with substance abuse and mental illness, I could empty out my bank account and at best help them only temporarily.
In other cases, the assistance could be counterproductive or even foolish. Many will use any cash they get to buy drugs or booze. Others may lie about their circumstances.
Yet even when I convince myself to keep walking, I can’t block out these verses from Matthew: “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'”