Thursday, 27 June 2013

Giving Dignity

Last night I sat with a friend eating some gelato in an area called Gastown. Which is only a couple blocks from East Hastings street on the Downtown East side of Vancouver. An area infamous world wide for being an awful place. As we sat we discussed everything from childhood memories to poverty. As we discussed poverty we got down to causes, issues and the nature of poverty in our city. 

Sitting there a woman named Sharon came up and asked if she could talk to us. I welcomed her to our table and shook her hand introducing myself, and my friend did the same.

As we began talking she explained the hardships she was facing, and what her night most certainly looked like. She asked for some financial relief of her situation. It is a place I have found myself often, and a place where I do not feel comfortable helping.

But I have two ways in which I will help:

1) I'd be happy to help them find resources to help them out (to which she had already explained she had exhausted) 

2) I would be more than happy to chat with them over a meal. My way to provide brief companionship and some nourishment. 

Sharon was not interested in what I had to offer so she moved on. 

As we sat there I thought to myself, Sharon is a hurting person. Sharon likely had an illness, addiction or a social situation which lent aid to put her in the place she is. But none of those things prevents us from giving dignity to her. 

Jesus Christ constantly reminds his disciples and us through these words that it is important to love others as He loves us. And I believe a place where we need to start is out of a place of giving dignity and respect to those who don't have it.

It is in these moments that we can share the love and heart of Christ. 

I will be honest, there are times when I am frustrated by the number of people asking me for money. There are times when the thought that the individual probably put themselves there crosses my mind. 

But  have to remember that I never deserved the love of Christ. I have done nothing to deserve dignity and respect of others in many cases outside of being a creation of God. And people no matter who they are, whether Sharon on the streets or the Queen of England deserve 2 things. 

1) To know that Jesus loves them
2) To know that they are created in the image of God and because of that; they have worth and deserve dignity and respect.

So when you meet someone this week who is needing some dignity and love, would you open up your heart and give them a moment. And I guarantee if you look for them, you will find them. 

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