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Justin Kissel
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« on: November 12, 2013, 09:06:14 AM »

How far would you go to help the homeless? Let's say it's an acquaintance. Let's say they have had drug problems and have been unable to lead anything like a productive or "normal" life since they were a teen. Do you have a responsibility to help them, even though the chances of working long term are slim? Would helping them be merely enabling them if they aren't willing to change? But what if they are willing but unable? Is it ok to leave someone on the street? What if it is winter? What if you are already stretched thin with your resources? What if it would add stress to already stressed-out relationships? Would you focus on people more likely to be able to convert your help into something lasting or more productive? Should you focus on such people? Where do you draw the line when giving help? What if things are pretty bad for them, but they exaggerate exactly how bad? What if experience has taught them that survival is a game, and a willingness to manipulate is just one of the tactics of the game (perhaps a life-saving one)?
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 09:14:24 AM »

Excellent and convicting questions. I will respond later when I'm not on my kindle.

Selam
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 09:56:04 AM »

First of all...Welcome back, * !!!!!  You've been missed.

Secondly, as soon as I'm able to ignite cognition in this pea brain, I may be able to respond to your OP. Wink
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 09:57:40 AM »

There are many ways in which one can "help" a person in need.

It doesn't always mean you have to take them "in", if that is not possible.

You could help him get in to rehab, if it's a drug problem.  You could invite him to the local homeless shelter where he can get cleaned up, and sleep in a warm bed, and get a meal.

Perhaps you could help him get his resume in order and help him find a job.  There's nothing better than someone getting a bit of independence...it will work wonders on his self-esteem and get him back on his feet, literally.  

If he doesn't have many skills, he could still probably get employment at the local retailer doing midnight stock work.  It does't pay much, but, it's more than what he has now.

If all you can do, is visit him, wherever he sits, daily with a sandwich and hot coffee, do that.

You can also, and very importantly, pray for him.  Don't forget about him.  Bring him a tiny icon or a cross, and talk to him.  Pray with him.  
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 09:58:09 AM »

First of all...Welcome back, * !!!!!  You've been missed.


I second that!

It is VERY good to have you back!!!!
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Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2013, 10:04:02 AM »

It very much depends on this person's intentions and sense of responsibility.  

I've known too many over the age of 25 who would go from place to place, one friend's sofa to another, and not seeing any reason to get a job or earn their own keep.  Many had 'unconventional' ways of stirring up an occasional $10 or $20 when they needed it, but making no effort to gain employment until/unless someone who was offering them a place to stay had made it a requirement.  I put one of these people up for a month back when I was in Ohio, and he put on the appearance of looking for work, found a job, and washed out in less than a month.  Hard to do, because his own mother was a supervisor.  I ran him to work and picked him up.  He had no drug or alcohol problem, had some sexual problems, and held fast to the mindset that he was still 12 years old and that someone else should just house him and feed him.  I became his mother in that short period of time.  In the end, he moved back in with his grandmother.  

Another was 35 and a drug user who also had sexual problems.  He went from place to place to place, and had an endless list of reasons why he could not and should not have to work.  My son felt bad for him and asked if we could put him up for a while.  This friend of his was over to visit my son maybe once a week, and was asking as well, campaigning on his own behalf, and I felt very much 'put on the spot.'  In what was the first--and so far, only--time I had ever lied to my son, I told him the front office was asking questions about whether we had a boarder in our apartment and that we could lose our lease if we let him move in.  The neighbor upstairs had put him up three times for extended periods just to keep him off the street, and this guy put them through a lot, all the while not contributing to rent or any other expense.  It was like he was back home, living with his mother.  

I say all this because most people--Christians in particular--feel a moral compulsion to help others, and that's a very good compulsion to have, but you can't let guilt make the decision for you.  Is this a person who has fallen on hard times due to an interruption in employment or some other run of bad luck (for want of a better term) that can't be attributed to being irresponsible, immature, or having an addiction that they're not willing to deal with?  Do they job-hop, constantly losing jobs in the first 3 - 6 months by way of getting fired or quitting?  What is their general attitude?  Does it reflect personal responsibility or is it largely a 'persecution' complex, where they think God or society or the universe itself conspires against them because they have to work for money to live and nobody should have to do that?  (Believe it or not, that's a growing movement that started back in the '60s, and a lot of homeless people get homeless because they won't abandon that idea.)  

I wanted to comment on this one because I have a unique perspective on this issue.  I've been homeless four times.  Four.  By the grace of God, I had a car each time, so I had a place to sleep where I was still behind locked doors and safe, and by the grace of God, I found a safe place for my son to stay, so I never had my child sleeping in a car at a rest stop on the highway.  

The first time was the only time it was by choice, and that was three years before my son was even born.  I decided to move out of Ohio and try to get work and an apartment in NJ.  I got a job the day after I pulled into town, and not even having an address.  I was shocked.  I ended up in Wayne NJ.  I was desperate to leave Ohio due to the horrendous employment situation out there.  A McDonalds was hiring, as they had advertised it, someone to run the fryer--just pull the fries out of the oil and do occasional cleanup.  They had to close the restaurant for THREE HOURS in order to take all the applications they were getting, and I was one of the ones who showed up.  The person who took my app said that two hours in, they had received over 400 apps.  This was the Youngstown/Warren/Niles/Akron area.  

I had an old rusty pickup truck, and I bought two sheets of wafer board and actually built shelves and compartments into the covered bed of that truck that laid perfectly over the top of the wheel wells.  Hinges, knobs, I even painted them.  I was all proud.  Down the center, I laid a pad, pillows, and folded blankets.  I gassed up the truck, pulled out of town on August 25th, 1985, and headed for NJ.  What I didn't anticipate was getting a job that quick with no address.  I also didn't anticipate the horrendous housing situation in Wayne.  So I had traded one problem for another, but I finally found a room to rent.

The other three times I was homeless, it wasn't intentional at all.  It was three months each time, in the Poconos in PA, and in the dead of winter.  I could tell more stories.  I was also employed each one of those times.  On the last time, it would have been four months except that the Salvation Army out there that was right across the street from my job would put you up for a month, so I spent a month there.

You have to ask yourself 1) What is this person doing to help themselves?  2) What is their general mindset and perspective on life, and is it one of personal responsibility?  And 3) What are they going to bring into your house?  Do they have major issues they need to deal with?

It's like the story of the drowning man.  I'd jump in to try to save a drowning man, but the point at which you let go is the point at which there is no hope of saving them, and not only that, but they're pulling you down with them.  

Help a person who had landed on hard times and needs a place to stay so that they can get their life going again.  Do not help a person who refuses to help themselves and/or refuses to seek help with addictions (the big ones being drugs, alcohol, sex, and gambling), because in that instance, you would in fact be 'enabling' the very lifestyle that has likely caused the homelessness in the first place.  If the second scenario applies here, refer him to Salvation Army or any other local agency/organization that provides emergency housing assistance to displaced persons.  Most of those places will also suggest or even require that he accept treatment in the event that he has any of the addictions listed above.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 10:07:45 AM by newtoorthodoxy » Logged

Some of my questions might appear patently stupid to those well-versed in Orthodoxy, but I'm brand new, having no background in the faith.  Please grant me a great deal of patience and consideration as I learn the basics.
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2013, 10:05:31 AM »

There are many ways in which one can "help" a person in need.

It doesn't always mean you have to take them "in", if that is not possible.

You could help him get in to rehab, if it's a drug problem.  You could invite him to the local homeless shelter where he can get cleaned up, and sleep in a warm bed, and get a meal.

Perhaps you could help him get his resume in order and help him find a job.  There's nothing better than someone getting a bit of independence...it will work wonders on his self-esteem and get him back on his feet, literally.  

If he doesn't have many skills, he could still probably get employment at the local retailer doing midnight stock work.  It does't pay much, but, it's more than what he has now.

If all you can do, is visit him, wherever he sits, daily with a sandwich and hot coffee, do that.

You can also, and very importantly, pray for him.  Don't forget about him.  Bring him a tiny icon or a cross, and talk to him.  Pray with him.  


^ These are some of the things I would have said if I'd been able to think more clearly and deeply and in words of more than 1 or 2 sentences!  Thanks, Liza!!!  Ukies, unite!! Grin
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2013, 10:15:08 AM »


Great minds....  Grin
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Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 07:53:04 PM »

I don't know the answers to any of those questions, but it made my day just a little bit brighter seeing Asteriktos back on the board.  Smiley
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2013, 08:16:55 PM »

Yeah, to be honest, I don't know either...
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Problem: John finds a spider under his bed. John eats the spider. John gets sick to his stomach.

Question: Why did John get sick?
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2013, 12:32:31 AM »

I agree with Liza. Great points.

On one hand, I feel compelled to open my home to anyone in need, especially friends or Christian brethren. But I have learned that sometimes that is not the best option. About ten years ago, a very good friend of mine asked if he could stay with us for a little while until he could find an apartment. Even though we have three children and live in a tiny house, I told him that would be fine. But days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. Even though he was respectful and did his best to give us our space, it put stress on our marriage, our family, and also on our friendship. I finally learned that he was able to live with his mother, but had chosen not to. So it wasn't like he would be left out on the street if he couldn't stay with us. I finally told him that I thought it was best if he lived with his mother, even if that wasn't ideal for him. I told him that if he was ever faced with having to sleep on the street, he could always knock on our door and we'd let him stay with us. It was difficult to ask him to leave, but it was for the best and I really think it salvaged our friendship as well.

A few years ago we were faced with a similar situation with one of my wife's friends and her two children. Days turned into weeks. Finally I began to inquire more about the details of her situation. It turned out that her roommate was not paying her share of the utility bills, so my wife's friend decided to stay with us until her roommate started paying her share. But my wife's friend had the money to keep her utilities on. So she was basically using us to teach her roommate a lesson. That really bothered me. I had been under the impression that she and her children were without power and water. But that wasn't the case. So I felt taken advantage of. I eventually confronted her about it and told her we would always help her if she truly had no power or water.

Then, recently, one of my best friends in the world asked if he could live with us. He had been struggling on his own for a long time. His own mother kicked him out of her house. He had lived here and there with various friends and acquaintances, and even stayed at homeless shelters from time to time. In all the years I had known him, he never asked me for anything. He never imposed on our family. In fact, in spite of his trials, he would always bring something to give us whenever he visited – fruit, exotic spices and herbs, homemade cakes and pies. That’s just the type of person he was. But about a year ago he called me and asked if he could come stay with us for a while. I had found out from a mutual friend of ours that he suffered from bi-polar disorder. This mutual friend told me that with a wife and children I should under no circumstances allow him to come stay with us. I had never seen or heard anything violent from this dear friend of mine. He is one of the most gentle, kind, and intelligent people I’ve ever known. But I loved my family too much to risk it. However, it really bothered me that I had turned him away. It still bothers me. I feel like I should have had more faith in God to protect us from any harm and to honor my helping a true friend. I lost contact with him for about a year. I was deeply worried and wondered if he was still alive. I was so thankful to finally hear from him a few weeks ago. He is living in Chicago, enrolled in Art School. But from talking with him it seems evident that he’s still struggling with psychiatric issues. But he doesn’t want to acknowledge that he needs medication, and that worries me.

So, I obviously don’t have any easy answers. Before I was married I would pick up hitchhikers and open my home to strangers. But I don’t do those things anymore. Maybe I’m using my family as an excuse to not truly help those who I should help. What if I were the one begging a friend for a place to stay? What would I think about a so-called friend who refused me refuge and shelter? I probably wouldn’t think they were a very good friend.

May God grant us wisdom and discernment in these difficult matters.

“Lord have mercy.”


Selam
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 12:36:11 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2013, 04:44:18 AM »

I've been homeless before...all my worldly goods in a wobbly wheeled half broke down car, half a tank of gas, no place to go, and 38 cents in my pocket.  If it were not for the kindness of some church members (when I was protestant), not sure what I would have done...even as it was sometimes all I had to live on was water and a single potato a day. Not a good place to be. When such times are ended...the memory etches the pointed end of the Golden Rule pretty deeply. Basically, whatever mercy I want God to have on me I try to show to others. If they have a need when they cross my path and I have the means to help...well I help for Christ sake. Over the years it's involved taking in strangers, buying or cooking meals for strangers, giving a ride, and giving them some extra cash if I have it. 

It may be selfish...but I've found it a great joy to see the sorrow fall away from someone who just moments before knew they were destined to sleep in the bushes without a bite to eat realize they were about to eat as much as they wanted and have a place to clean up, sleep comfortably, and have a ride to work the next morning.

I know others who take the same view go out of their way to sponsor complete strangers for US citizenship, making themselves legally responsible for "welfare" and medical assistance for the duration it took to get citizenship (about 7 years).

Once I was the recipient of a great kindness when I was out of work some years back and was almost out of money...some anonymous soul at church sent me 1000 dollars through my priest.  It bridged me till a job "miraculously" opened up.

I also knew someone in the military, a Christian, who had two of his men come to his home one night saying another of his men had gotten in bad trouble, was in jail, and didn't have enough for bail.  That officer gave him all the money he had on him and never thought another thing about it. A few days later one of those two men come to his door. He looked very nervous and a little scared. It had all been a trick...a scam by the other guy so they could keep on drinking....but this other guyfelt guilty at his friend's duplicity, and repaid the money out of his own paycheck. And the first guy...apparently he ended up drinking so much he forgot most of that whole night and had no memory of asking for money at all.  The lesson apparently was don't judge the need when another asked...God knows and will bring good out of it.  The upshot for the sailors was the officer had a lot of respect for the integrity of the second sailor and made sure he got good evaluations.

My view is. God knows what you can handle. He knows what responsibilities you have...and when He puts someone in need in your path, you do the good that is in your power to do for His sake whether it is large or small. Let God work out questions of justice, fairness, and fraud.
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2013, 06:07:06 AM »

I've been homeless before...all my worldly goods in a wobbly wheeled half broke down car, half a tank of gas, no place to go, and 38 cents in my pocket.  If it were not for the kindness of some church members (when I was protestant), not sure what I would have done...even as it was sometimes all I had to live on was water and a single potato a day. Not a good place to be. When such times are ended...the memory etches the pointed end of the Golden Rule pretty deeply. Basically, whatever mercy I want God to have on me I try to show to others. If they have a need when they cross my path and I have the means to help...well I help for Christ sake. Over the years it's involved taking in strangers, buying or cooking meals for strangers, giving a ride, and giving them some extra cash if I have it. 

It may be selfish...but I've found it a great joy to see the sorrow fall away from someone who just moments before knew they were destined to sleep in the bushes without a bite to eat realize they were about to eat as much as they wanted and have a place to clean up, sleep comfortably, and have a ride to work the next morning.

I know others who take the same view go out of their way to sponsor complete strangers for US citizenship, making themselves legally responsible for "welfare" and medical assistance for the duration it took to get citizenship (about 7 years).

Once I was the recipient of a great kindness when I was out of work some years back and was almost out of money...some anonymous soul at church sent me 1000 dollars through my priest.  It bridged me till a job "miraculously" opened up.

I also knew someone in the military, a Christian, who had two of his men come to his home one night saying another of his men had gotten in bad trouble, was in jail, and didn't have enough for bail.  That officer gave him all the money he had on him and never thought another thing about it. A few days later one of those two men come to his door. He looked very nervous and a little scared. It had all been a trick...a scam by the other guy so they could keep on drinking....but this other guyfelt guilty at his friend's duplicity, and repaid the money out of his own paycheck. And the first guy...apparently he ended up drinking so much he forgot most of that whole night and had no memory of asking for money at all.  The lesson apparently was don't judge the need when another asked...God knows and will bring good out of it.  The upshot for the sailors was the officer had a lot of respect for the integrity of the second sailor and made sure he got good evaluations.

My view is. God knows what you can handle. He knows what responsibilities you have...and when He puts someone in need in your path, you do the good that is in your power to do for His sake whether it is large or small. Let God work out questions of justice, fairness, and fraud.

+1

P.O.M.!!!


Selam
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 08:33:44 PM »

It's going to be quite cold outside in these parts for the next few days. I suppose someone different could say that each day of the year, I just happened to be that person today.
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Problem: John finds a spider under his bed. John eats the spider. John gets sick to his stomach.

Question: Why did John get sick?
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