Thursday, May 07, 2009

Some of you are NOT going to like this.

Before reading this VERY controversial post I suggest you read this short article from the Akron Beacon Journal. I read it at 3 A.M. (Read Jake's blog for info on all that....)

I just took the time to re-read the article and I can not believe it. Where do I begin. I am sure Barbara is a kind and sweet woman. It is a great service she has done to help the needy. I am not discounting that... I am appalled at how blatantly judgemental she is. That is not how we are supposed to be as Christians. I know many of you don't see things the way I do when it comes to the system helping people. But here is the thing....this woman began this "Freely, Freely" (the name is based on a Bible verse) and gives things to poor people. But you have to be the working poor or be actively looking for a job. First of all - how does she know if you are looking for a job? She doesn't give assistance to people who are getting cash assistance or food stamps. WHAT!? You can work and get food stamps. So, if you get $100 a month in food stamps you can't get help with furniture or clothing? That doesn't even make sense. And what if you are one of those "working poor" and you don't have money for food but you have cable, cell phones and a dog. Does that make you less of a "freeloader"? This is the problem with being judgemental. You can't really gage a situation accurately. I know she feels she is doing the right thing. And many of you may agree with her at first. I understand there are people who live off the system and who are lazy. Our society has created them. They don't know another way of life. Trust me....they pay a price for it. It is not like these people are out living a life of luxury. They live in horrible neighborhoods and live in fear of most authority figures. They live under an alternative economy - one that you and I do not understand. They sell their food stamps to pay for diapers and their kids birthday parties and then have to go to food pantry's for food. They worry about how they will keep their electricity on but at the same time have NO concept of conserving energy. I am not saying there aren't lazy people in our society. There are many. And I am not saying there aren't people who know how to work the system. I know first hand and have actually learned a thing or two from them. BUT what I am saying is this....Warning some of you aren't going to like it....

As Christians we are to 1. Love Christ and 2. Love each other. Plain and simple. You can't love someone if you are judging them. And more importantly how can we rely on our own meager judgements to be just that....JUST. We can't. There are people out there who will never set foot in a Church or ever know Christ because they know "Christians" are going to judge them. I attended a conference a few weeks ago and one of the speakers said something that may seem a little "cliche" but it really hit home for me. She said that there are many people who will NEVER attend a church (for many reasons) and you (me or you) may be the closest thing to Jesus they will ever see. I think it is so true of my job and my clients. Once I was at a home with a family....the type of family that "Freely, Freely" would NEVER serve. They were needing help with something (I don't even remember what) - regardless- I asked them if they ever attended Church and said maybe they could ask a Church for help. The mother looked at her motley crew of a family and looked back and with a half hearted laugh said, "Do we look like the kind of family that would go to Church?" Doesn't that break your heart? Here's the thing. Jesus Christ died for the prostitute, the beggar, the thief, the abuser, the liar and the user. Just like he died for all of our HORRIBLE sins. Yes the system is messed up. Yes the government has created a mess. But the Christians have sat back and allowed it to happen. If we were doing what we are supposed to do - "This is my commandment, that you love each other and I have loved you. John 15:12" - then we wouldn't be in this mess would we?

Here is another verse...

Deut 15:7–11 7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

Maybe you feel like the lady does. Please just take a step back and see how it is being judgemental and how it can be so destructive. Every single family that is labeled as "freeloaders" has a story. A story that would probably break your heart right into pieces. Yes many of these people have made awful choices and many, many mistakes. Your sins, their sins....all the same in the eyes of God.

I've been feeling like this for a long time. If Christians would really get a hold on this love stuff. If we really could love one another (other Christians and non Believers)....well, it would fix the world. I haven't really worked out all the kinks but I do know that, although it is nice and loving, donating stuff: giving people old clothing and toiletries is not really loving them. To love them, you are going to have to get to know them. Really know them. Hear their stories, walk in their neighborhoods, hold their hands.... It doesn't have to be scary. I'd bet there are "needy" people in your neighborhood. You know there is something to that "love your neighbor" stuff.

And please don't give me any of that "I can love someone even if I don't like them" CRAP. I hate that saying. It is impossible.

It is a tall order. But remember, it was NOT my idea. Jesus said and now we have to do it.

9 comments:

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

What?!?! No one is commenting on this?!?!?

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

If the woman would have called it "I am helping the way I want." You would have written a thing.(And neither would have the ABJ)

Anonymous said...

Good Post.

Aunt D.

delilah said...

Tim I have found when I really push people's buttons they don't tell me about it (i.e. comment). People tend to comment more on the fluff stuff. LOL.

And you are correct if she had phrased it differently I wouldn't have written about HER but I was planning a post like this for some time. BUT, since she used words like freeloaders & lazy butts- well, that just isn't cool.

link said...

I will not say anything for or against this I am a kid and kids do nota smart aleck adults but I whant to scream that the woman is right

amyd76 said...

I have a funny feeling you're waiting for a comment from me. I could also be very, very wrong. There are soooooooooooooooo many things I'd like to say right now, but it's all jumbled up in my brain. I also know how to fix the world. Much of it, with love and caring...
I had a big long comment and deleted it. It wasn't making sense to me. I do agree with you on most of this stuff though. Maybe I'll comment in small doses :)

JoAnn said...

Good food for thought, I have never had a good experience with ANY church , believe me , religion is a crazy hot button with me. I don't think my relationship with God has anything to do with any church affiliation . Some of the most christian like people are not church goers. Enough said ;o) I liked this post, I can really tell you put your heart into it!

Heather Hurt Photography said...

Woo Hoo. Yeah. This is my kinda blog. Bout time! :-) Okay. B4 you read my comment... you better still love me when you're done... LOL! Actually, I don't think it'll be that bad! First of all, I can really tell that you feel passionately about this particular subject. (Not that you wouldn't feel this way if you had some other job, but I'm sure your occupation influences your compassion b/c you get to see what most of us don't- on the daily.) Kudos to you for not letting your job "go to your head". Ya know, having the power over who gets help and who doesn't... wink wink! You have the ability to help folks, and the best part (from what I've read of your blog) is, even when you're stressed, you LOVE it!

Okay, so I think that there are many ways to help people. The community/world does need to adjust their thinking. But, here's the thing: They won't. Not all of them. It can be frustrating for us, b/c we have a common love for humans that was created within us, but "LiFe" and other 'learned behaviors' tears that down... We have to use some forms of judgement... in just every day life. Judgement in making wise decisions is a little different than judgement where you place yourself above someone. Now, I DO KNOW (unfortunately) some families, one in particular, that "milk" the system. They lie about everything, work under the table and whereas my father (who got laid off- and found out about it ON THE NEWS- after working his butt off for over 20 years at a company - long story another time) went from 50g's /year to standing in line at a food pantry, couldn't get much help at all, they were sucking up all sorts of govt. perks... Having said that, I can see where she's coming from, sorta. But, that sort of opinion may be best left for an office worker or something out of the public eye, not a "charity driver". I appreciate the scrips u used b/c the "freely/freely" thing meant so much more than that. To "Give Freely" means that you do so w/out any stipulations. No requirements. No agenda nor forms to fill out. If you have a family that has 6 kids, whether they have money or not, don't you feel compelled to give them a hand? With both adults present they still have only 4 arms! The second of the 2 greatest commands that Jesus was trying to explain to the pharasees, wasn't just love your neighbor. It was "love your neighbor as yourself". I don't know about you but we tend to love ourselves more than we should sometimes. With massages and makeup and perfume... we like to look good, feel good. Religion can be so confusing and complex to some, but it's not supposed to be that way. Jesus identified "true Christians" as having this Agape love or brotherly love for one another. Fortunately there were no guidelines or we may not have been loved by him. Also, Ps 147:3 says He (God)is healing the brokenhearted ones, And is binding up their painful spots. We don't know what people go thru or have gone thru to get them where they are. It may just be a matter of circumstances. Offering comfort (or like you said, a hug) can MEAN SO MUCH. Also, (1 John 4:20-21) If anyone makes the statement: “I love God,” and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that the one who loves God should be loving his brother also. This means everyone! Hate can be a strong word, but if you fail to extend a hand to anyone b/c of some sort of prejudice it's hatred or dislike. How can you say you love God? That's not true Christianity? This is a touchy topic and at least she's trying to help someone. You know the thing about people that limit their giving? Only the few that they've helped will remember them when they're gone. I've said way too much and my thoughts are probably all scattered about and don't make sense. I guess I see what you're saying and you're right... Yet, if I think about it too long, I start seeing where I do these things too. Sometimes our minds are(unfortunately) etched with negative thinking about some people. A man hollered out to me, "Ma'am! Ma'am". Trying to gain my attn while I was at a traffic light, my kids were in the car and he had a cig in his hand, belly hanging out of his shirt, scruffy/nappy hair - unbrushed, looked dirty and I DID NOT want him to approach the car. I was nervous and then there's that akward ignoring thing. He probably wanted a few dollars (we have many folks ask for money and they're getting much more bold with their approach AND they really tend to pick on the 'white' girls!) which I truly didn't have, but after I left I thought...'what if he was an amazing composer of music and just went down the wrong way' or 'maybe he'd be a great story teller and could tell us amazing things'... maybe if I'd met him in a different setting I'd have been less "judgemental". (But, at the same time I was afraid of conflict in front of the kids.) Maybe... well, I'm imperfect. All I can do is what I can do...
Everyone has a story to tell... hhhmmmmm, I hear ya sister.

amyd76 said...

I keep thinking about what to say next, and I'm really coming up short. I would like to say that I am not judgemental, but I can't. I am judgemental. We ALL are...about something or someone. We are human. We are not Jesus. We are not perfect. God knows that, and HE loves us anyway. Should we try to be non-judgemental? Absolutely. Will we ever be perfect? Nope.
One more thing before my brain explodes (very LONG week)...I get angry when I think of all the people that I am in contact with on a daily basis that DO, indeed, work the system. I also get very angry thinking of all the ones who don't. It's not fair. Will it ever be? I don't think so. That being said, I also TRY VERY HARD not to be angry AT said "system workers". So many of them don't know any other way of life. People need to be educated, guided, and held responsible. But, with the mess we have, that will probably never happen.