By now I think we have all hear about the New York policeman who gave the shoes to the homeless guy. His action was praised by everyone in the news, the internet, and by his peers. It seemed like a good thing to do!
Sadly, we later learned that the homeless guy was not wearing his shoes one day. He said he had hidden them to avoid them being stolen. What’s more, it appeared that he may actually not be homeless and that pandering was his chosen way of life.
Now I don’t believe that all homeless folks choose that lifestyle. Nor do I believe that all poor people choose to be poor. I myself would like to help these people and see them change their circumstances and I think most of us would agree. But.. I am wondering if these folks really want to change their lives.
Many of them are addicts and just care about getting their next high from whatever drug or alcohol they can get. Some can survive on welfare checks, not well, but maybe as well as they want without doing anything. Maybe the welfare programs are really just enabling them? Maybe we “do-gooders” are more concerned about their state than they are? That sounds harsh, I’ll admit that. But I also know of lots of places that provide help to those that want to change their lives. And many of those places are free. And have room for more.
I am personally aware of Christian treatment programs that offer long term care to assist people in leaving addiction and learning how to build better lives. There are also many churches that offer programs like Celebrate Recovery that also deals with addiction from many issues.
As for jobs, I recently saw a study from an east coast state that showed how a welfare recipient can live better on welfare than if they got a $60,000 job! What is their motivation for doing anything but live off the “system”? Are they being helped or enabled to live a life that lacks the self-esteem that comes from independence?
Like I said, I like the idea of helping people. I see part of the problem is that of control.. People want to be in control of their lives and decisions even if they are in bad straits. Submitting to God and learning His ways to live may solve their problems, but does not solve their problems the way they want them solved. So we enable many of them to keep on keeping on and their frustration keeps on too. Or maybe they aren’t even frustrated at all? Maybe they like their lifestyle as it is and the only ones worried about them are us “do-gooders”?