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Category: Testimonies
Topic: Motives and Lost Opportunities

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Just my 2 cents:
Only God can read our and others motives, it is not our place, as we can not see into each others hearts. After all, what good does judging others or their motives do? When we get to heaven, won't we be personally responsible for our own actions in this life? It is so much easier to point the finger at someone else to blame, but we can't change anyone except ourselves, and even in that, we can't do alone, and have to have God's help.
To me, the church not helping Sam and Mike while homeless, was their lost opportunity that God placed before them (the church), and they missed it. There were other examples where churches did take advantage of their God given opp to help Sam and Mike, and they did step up and help. Lost opps are a chance to grow, to realize where we fell short, so we won't miss the next one.
In my opinion, a better question should be focused at ourselves:
How many lost opportunities litter our own personal lives? And what can I do about that today, right now?
A moment in time that God placed before us to help someone else, but we were too blind, busy, sick, sinful, selfish to notice, and now that moment is lost because we didn't put God first in our own lives, making ourselves available, to share the same unconditional love and forgiveness that Christ showed us.
None of us are perfect, me least of all, I think all we can do, is live this day, today, right now, for the glory of God, making ourselves as humanly as possible available to God, so he can use us to for His glory. We can do nothing about the past, but learn from it. The future and tomorrow are not here yet, but today, that is something we can do something about.

Posted: 2006-06-15 14:02:00

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Love your focus on not trying to interpret motives. I'm big on that.

The church wasn't refusing to help the homeless authors. The authors weren't homeless. They had homes. They were pretending to be homeless.

Is the church obligated to help those pretending to be poor, or are we called to help the poor?

Posted: 2006-06-15 15:19:00

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Hi Redriver,
Thanks for responding, I love talking about these topics.
I know that Mike and Sam were pretending to be homeless, but that doesn't change the fact that they were truly hungry and in need. After all, they did live like the homeless, became just as hungry, thirsty, etc. as true homeless people. Their needs were not pretend. Yes, it was a decision they made, but their needs became the same, regardless of how they became homeless.
Plus, they did come across some churches that were helpful, some were not. Just as some people were helpful, others weren't. Some churches did judge them on their appearance. I am not judging those churches or people either, as I said before. Churches are the same as people, responsible for their own behaviors, judging and finger pointing won't solve the problem . I think if the need is there, and we have the capability of helping those in need, we have a responsibility to fill it. If we are not really needed, isn't it better to have tried to help and not been needed. Then, to have been needed and not tried to help? Say that 5x's fast. And I feel that is for churches, too.
I believe God gave us all we have, including $, so it is important to give back when God calls us to. Because, I know from experience, you can't outgive God, when you give to Him, He just continually gives back. Not that we give because we know God will give it back, we give, because we will never pay God back for all he has given us.
So, if someone is pretending to be in need, and we give to that person when they didn't need it, well, that is between that person and God. At least the giver had their heart in the right place.
It is a sticky situation though, because no one should be taken advantage of, and churches especially are targets for fraud. I believe if you truly take your actions to God in prayer, b4 acting, he will guide you how you should act. Churches and individuals both.
Every month my friends and I have fed now between 70-80 homeless people, everyone of them looked hungry. If they were pretending, that's ok with me, because they experienced God love thru the act of giving, and taking time out of Sat afternoon to treat them individually with love, compassion, and an listening ear.
What do you think?

Posted: 2006-06-15 18:14:00

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If someone wants to pretend to be in need when they are not, and another person wants to help that person, I'm cool with that.

However, if a person chooses not to help someone who is only pretending to be in need, are they really worthy of being criticized as uncaring?

If someone who is not in need pretends to be, isn't that the place when a believer can justifiably not help someone, preferring to help someone genuinely in need instead?

The truth is that the people who didn't help probably did not just see through their pretend need. It's likely--and unfortunate--that in most cases those who did not help thought they were in need and just didn't help them. This, of course, is sad.

My problem with the book is that it too often attributes poor motives to people who may be really good, caring people who made a judgement call on a hard issue and are getting a bad rap because the made the "wrong" decision.

Example 1: Coffee shop owner doesn't let the admittedly odorous "homeless" guy stay in his store. This is portrayed as an example of how the homeless are treated worse than others. But look at the other side of this issue. If the guy lets homeless people stay as long as they want, maybe his business goes away. Maybe he already tried letting them stay and found that out for sure. Maybe he ends up going out of business, can't pay his rent, buy food for his family. It seems like an easy decision until it's your store. Then it's a harder call. Maybe he should have stood on principle, consequences be damned. He didn't. Maybe I would have made a different decision. But I'm okay with his.

Example 2: Church posts a "church business only" sign on their building and keeps their doors locked. This is portrayed as an example of how the church doesn't welcome people in need. Again, look the other side: how many times might the church have been vandalized or robbed before it made the hard decision to put up that sign. Maybe they argued the issue in a meeting, debated the negative message the sign might send. It seems like an easy decision until it's your church. Then it's a harder call. Maybe they should have stood on principle, consequences be damned. They didn't. Maybe I would have made a different decision. But I'm okay with theirs.

It seems to me the key to understanding others is to get into the other person's perspective while presuming their motives were good. What good reason would a person have for doing this thing that appears to be uncaring. We don't know that the coffee shop owner gave a thought to the effect on his business, or that the church gave a thought to what message that sign might send. But maybe they did. And I think unless proven otherwise they should be given the benefit of the doubt. The authors don't give them that benefit, which I think is sad, even if they may in many cases have been right about the motives.

Posted: 2006-06-20 18:47:00

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arent we called to help everyone?

Posted: 2006-06-27 15:05:00

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Pretending to be homeless....pretending to be in need...HHHMMM? I believe Mike & Sam really were in need in their "chosen" state of homelessness. Kinda like Jesus was "homeless" and had "needs" when He took on the form of lowly man. I see an interesting analogy here, don't you? (cp. Philippians 2)

Jesus says we do have responsibilities...which are significant! Mt. 25:35-45. Were the "motives" what was judged by the King in this passge.

Just food for thought...I just finished the book yesterday and was moved...hopefully to ACTION! It's great to see others are on this same journey.

Posted: 2006-06-28 16:07:00

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Red River,
even if Mike and Sam had never gone on vacation the way they did, you have a responsibility to help those who appear to be in need, because we cannot judge the heart. I have been taken advantage of quite a few times, (e.g, yesterday I had to clean out the apartment I had let a recovering heroin addict and her kids stay in [it was sick] and then find homes for her kids because she decided to skip town), but I would've had to come to the seat of Christ and tell him that I thought He might have been faking it when he came to me naked, hungry, and sick. so what if they were? Jesus said if somebody asks you for something, give it. he said if somebody takes something from you, don't ask for it back. he said if somebody asks to lend something, don't expect to get it back. He said this so he could prove that no matter how much satan steals, god still provides enough for us to do good with.

Posted: 2006-10-01 12:43:00

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