A good sermon for homeless people is taken from Matthew 6:25-27 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food? And the body more than clothing?” And in Luke 12:6-7 we read: ”Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows”.
But Jesus didn’t speak as kindly to the religious leaders of his day, calling them out in plain view of the people, “Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites!” He warned about acting pious, going to a public place, putting on a gloomy face and making vain repetitious prayers to be seen by men. He advised instead of going into one’s inner room and shutting the door to pray. (Matthew 6: 5-6)
A good sermon builds people up; gives hope for a brighter tomorrow, no matter how pressing our problems are today. I recall hearing many sermons like that before I became homeless. Sermons that told me I was created in God’s image and if we have the faith the size of a mustard seed, we can say to that mountain “move” and it will obey us. Hearing a good sermon should lift us up.
But the theme of the sermons I heard while living on the streets was not the same message that I had heard before I became homeless. They were more like: You are a hopeless sinner; you will not overcome your addictions unless you accept Jesus as your Savior and become saved.
It didn’t matter that I told them that I was following Jesus’ teachings, as recorded in the Bible and that in spite of that I became homeless. In their eyes I was homeless so therefore, I must have some sin or addiction that I was struggling with.
I have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol and I have always believed in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. I do not like people stealing from me, so I do not steal. I do not like people cheating me, so I do not cheat others. Simple. Just because I’m homeless doesn’t make me a hopeless sinner, doomed to hellfire.
One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 7: 1-5 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
There is only one God and one Messiah. So why are there so many different Christian religions? (Don’t answer that. I already know.) I only mention it because I have seen how many times other people (including Christians) who have not experienced life on the street themselves tend to lump the homeless community into one big pot of drug addicts, alcoholics, and mentally unstable people who are too lazy to get a job.
To be a Christian is to serve others; not to judge them and threaten them with eternal hellfire and damnation. But I want you to know that those people who judge you by your appearance do not represent God. There are those who are true Christians and who sincerely care about your well being and work to meet your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
If it was not for Christian organizations like the Open Door Mission, the Salvation Army, and many others, the homeless would be getting a lot less help than they are. I appreciated every meal and every volunteer that made my life a bit more tolerable when I lived on the streets.
During that time God taught me a lot about myself. One important lesson I learned was that while I was spending a lot of my time complaining about how others were judging me for being homeless, I was judging them for not being homeless. Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is to show grace to those who judge us.
We must always remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1: 26-29 “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. “