Hiding From The World.

How does a "chronically homeless person", someone who is hiding from the world, too ashamed to be seen in public and too scared to ask for help, eventually achieve their goal and obtain a place to live?

We need to throw away all the myths that exclaim that most homeless people are flamboyant extroverts, who bounce up to any random stranger, tell extravagant fibs, while begging mercilessly for a "little something" to overcome their mysterious hurdles. We also need to toss away the misconceptions that all homeless people will confidently and frequently flood social services agencies, homeless shelters and their local governmental authorities crying "HELP".

Some will, BUT let me tell you, and trust me when I tell you, most WON'T and DON'T! 

The majority of homeless people hide in the cracks, wanting to rise, wanting help and assistance, but they're unable or unsure of how to navigate through our very complicated system that has divided this nation into "haves" and "have-nots". Don't believe the myths, because the truth is, nearly 100% of people I've met who are experiencing homelessness would rather be housed, would rather be accepted by their families and friends and endlessly dream of overcoming the heart-wrenching obstacles and addictions that keep them displaced.

Their silence screams! Their invisible tears flood our nation! They shield their faces as they silently beg, but their noiseless and embarrassing pleas fall on deaf ears. Yet, they continue to silently scream....

....and, as I've said time and time again; "a homeless person can't pull themselves up by their own bootstraps if they don't even own boots"

So back to my original question; How does a chronically homeless person, someone who is hiding from the world, too ashamed to be seen in public and too scared to ask for help, eventually achieve their goal and obtain a place to live?

This is where we, as caring and loving individuals, need to step up! The government, with all their programs and finances, will continue to place priorities on people and corporations that ultimately benefit them! Socially anxious homeless folk are completely null and void to the "powers-that-be!", and that is why we need to rise up in absolute solidarity and support for society's weakest and most vulnerable members! People experiencing homelessness may be ignored by most, but they have to be embraced by a few; and that is why we need to raise our revolutionary fists, to ensure their humanity, dignity and person-hood receives an abundance of love; a love that was lived out and demonstrated by Jesus!  

As a follower of Jesus, I believe we're called to follow His example and bring the Kingdom of God into this world; a world where hatred, rejection and oppression is the dominating power! When we live out the ethics of His Kingdom, we bring a unique revolutionary Love into our communities. 
Kingdom Love helps us not be overcome and overwhelmed by these empires of hatred, rejection and oppression, but gives us the freedom and power to bypass our own interests and also the interests of all power-hungry thugs, so we can look out for the interests of others! 
Kingdom Love especially looks out for those who are the weakest and most vulnerable, those who are struggling at the bottom. 
Kingdom Love looks out for those who are unable to give back in return! 

This world is full of lonely and forgotten people in desperate need of Kingdom Love. When Jesus wandered around 1st century Palestine, He grieved over how lost and marginalized people were! As He looked at the horizon, He wept and viewed them as "sheep without a shepherd." Despite all the glares and frowns of the elitist bullies, Jesus ensured the lonely were noticed and saturated by the Love of His Kingdom. He didn't ignore them or walk on by, He fixed His gaze on them and gave them His undivided attention and showered them with compassion. 

....Not only that; He also challenged and expected His disciples and followers to follow suit and "do likewise"! 

Kingdom Love is the Revolutionary Love Jesus spoke about in His parables and teachings about the Kingdom of God! His stories often included a rejected or despised person that Jesus wanted His followers to show unconditional and crazy love too. He wants these lonely souls to be offered seats of honor at banquets. He wants us to visit, assist, clothe and feed those who have been locked up, rejected and ignored; claiming that if we "do this", (those He considers the "least of these"), we are "doing this" to Jesus Himself. He also boldly announced that the "poor are blessed and honored members of His Kingdom" and that "the first are last and the last are first" in the Kingdom of God. By telling these stories and making these proclamations, Jesus elevated those who'd been rejected and marginalized, while challenging and angering the self righteous snobs at the same time.

Kingdom Love isn't just challenging stories, it is also the Revolutionary Actions of Love that Jesus did as He lived out the Kingdom of God, right here on earth! Jesus didn't ignore the suffering silent individuals who were hiding from the world. He made his listeners notice the poor widow who put a mere mite into the offering jar, elevating her beyond all realms! Jesus wouldn't let the bleeding woman simply disappear into the crowd when she touched the fringe of His cloak! She wanted to just fade away, but instead He decided to stop and ask "who touched me?". She found physical healing that day, but she also received Kingdom Love when He stopped the masses and focused His undivided attention on her, making the crowd know how special and honored she is in the Kingdom of God. Jesus lived out what He taught, by often stopping everybody and bringing healing to the silent and rejected folks who were suffering! 

The Kingdom of God is calling us to reach out and find those who are hiding from the world! 
The Kingdom of God is calling us to never ignore or "walk-on-by" those who are suffering! 
The Kingdom of God is calling us to make sacrifices, by stepping up and visiting the "least-of-these"! 

Chicago is a crowded city, but even in all it's congestion and chaos, thousands upon thousands of people still wander as ghosts; "visibly invisible" or "invisibly visible!" Uptown, with it's Nursing Homes, street people and Homeless Shelters, is home to an ignorable and forgotten population! Wilson Avenue is occupied by pockets of homeless people sleeping outside in secret locations, lonely nursing home residents seeking a little love with some "loose change" and various cliques of youngsters trying to find meaning and purpose in a neighborhood that wishes to lock them up!

My opening question leads me to a story I often heard in Sunday School as a youngster. It is found in Mark 2:3-12....

Four men bring a paralyzed man to Jesus to be healed. There's no wheelchairs or public transportation, so they carry him on a stretcher. The place was jam-packed full and they couldn't get into the house to see Jesus, so they carried this man onto the roof. In an act of sheer determination and grit, these 4 guys dug through the ceiling and lowered him right in front of Jesus! Try and think of how difficult it would have been for these 4 fellas to carry this paralyzed man across town in the hot Palestinian sun; think about all the obstacles and roadblocks they faced, and yet they continued to press on forward and get him to Jesus! 

What faith! What hope! What love! Jesus saw what they did, and scripture tells us that their faith resulted in this man having his sins forgiven and being healed. As a result, the paralyzed man walked away carrying his stretcher, the rulers fussed over and judged the words Jesus used and the watching public ended up praising and glorifying God! 

These 4 guys are examples to us and help us answer my original question. Scripture doesn't reveal if they were friends of this man, or if they just knew of him "silently suffering" in their neighborhood and decided to take a leap of faith and step out their comfort zones. Scripture does tell us and imply that these 4 men were outrageously courageous and compassionate enough to ignore their own comfort and look out for the interests of this suffering and lonely individual! Scripture does reveal that this crazy act of faith resulted in changed lives! 

I believe that these 4 nameless men challenge us to find and embrace those "hiding from the world" in our neighborhoods and give them a heavy dose of Kingdom Love. 

I believe that these 4 nameless men challenge us to take a risk, to take a leap of faith, and reach out of our comfort zones to offer assistance to those in need. 

I believe that these 4 nameless men challenge us overcome the obstacles in our way, so we can take suffering individuals to the right people; those who are able to provide the help they need. 

I believe that these 4 nameless men challenge us to be patient and persevere, knowing that we may have to change our route on multiple occasions.

I believe that these 4 nameless men challenge us to be courageous and full of determination, always putting other people's interests before our own. 

I believe that these 4 nameless men challenge us to embrace Kingdom Love and ignore all the religious gangsters and callous haters who are going to spread doubt and create opposition. 

I believe that these 4 nameless men challenge us to live a life full of faith, hope and love, because as people see and experience Kingdom Love flowing through us, it will be contagious and have a ripple effect. (We must remember; the faith of these 4 courageous, determined and compassionate men caused a paralyzed man to get up and walk and the crowd to praise and glorify God!)

I believe that these 4 nameless men challenge us to embrace those "hiding from the world" and saturate them with The Kingdom of God and the Love that flows freely from it! 
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