It seems like every time we turn around, people are doing awful things to other people. Terrorists set bombs and kill people. Police harm people. Racism happens. Politicians lie and sling mud. We see these things in the news, so it seems like this is how people are, that it’s the norm.
Some people put me down because I don’t watch/ read the news regularly. I don’t keep abreast of current events. When I try to speak on a subject, I’m accused of not knowing what I’m talking about.
Not watching/ reading the news is a deliberate choice. Much of what’s reported by large news sites is the worst of the worst about humanity. No wonder people are suspicious of others. No wonder people don’t want to help their neighbors.
I saw a meme this morning about people saying that others should help homeless vets before bringing in refugees. That allowing refugees into the US will also bring terrorists. The problem with this line of thinking is that our government isn’t doing a lot to help homeless vets. When we see photos and hear about the problems of homelessness with our veterans, it’s heartbreaking and overwhelming. People don’t know where to start to help.
A church in Portland opened a small homeless shelter for vets and allows them to bring their dogs.
A program in West Virginia helps veterans pay rent so that they don’t become homeless.
Here’s a news article about a police officer who bought a homeless man shoes.
Here’s an article about a homeless man providing food to other homeless people.
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
The other day, I was at a traffic light and was approached by a man who handed me a slip of paper saying that he was soliciting money for a homeless shelter. It looks legit, and it has a website. Whether or not it is legit, I usually give people $1 or $2. Why do I do that? They could be drug addicts. They could be running a scam. They could be whatever.
True. But what if they’re not? What if that $1 means they can get a meal or a bottle of water? What if it means they have bus fare to get to a job interview?
I can afford that dollar. I never give anything I can’t afford. Not money, time, energy, love, etc. So I won’t be upset if I find out it was used for something I don’t approve of. Even if that person is going to use the money for alcohol or drugs, maybe my giving it to him or her prevents them from breaking into someone’s car later that night. Maybe it prevents them from stealing a purse. I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. But I’d rather assume the best about people.
I don’t feel that it’s okay for you to complain unless you’re helping. That doesn’t mean that you have to be doing big things. You could give one person a pair of shoes or an apple. It’s east to say “someone else” should do it. They should; you’re right. But they’re not. And if you aren’t either, then you’re part of the problem.
This has become kind of a long post, and I have more to say, so I’m going to talk about the refugees tomorrow.
I’d love to have a discussion, so please, if you have thoughts on this, leave a comment.