Posts Tagged heart

How to help the homeless?

I’ve never been very good at passing people on the street who are begging for money.  My instinct is always to give whatever I happen to have on me, which isn’t often much but is at least something.  I certainly prefer giving items other than cash, but sometimes that is all you have.  Some time ago I developed a habit of not carrying around any cash, for a couple of reasons, none having to do with not having any money to give if asked.  I don’t like having money so easily out of my accounting flow, meaning it is harder to keep track of what you spend with cash than it is using some card.  I also tended to use cash for much less than appropriate things when I had it, and not carrying cash helped remove that temptation.

So the problem is that people begging for money is a whole different thing.  I do know there is the injunction in the scriptures to give all you have to the poor, and be justified to not give if you do not have, and part of me is concerned that I continue not carrying cash so I don’t feel that I need to give.  The more rational part of me thinks this is somewhat absurd, as I’d not been in areas that had any homeless anywhere in the places I went.  Living away from large cities will do that.  But now I work in downtown Salt Lake City, and it is pretty impossible to ignore the people wandering about hoping for some help.

How do I steel myself, to be able to see people obviously in need and be able to say to them “I can’t give”?  Do I even want to make my heart cold to those pleading for help?  Is this just part of the cost to my heart every day to work in this area?  I’m not one of those who think these people should “just get jobs” or should just “pull themselves up” – throughout my life I have been the recipient fo help from others when things were tight, and I am still trying to improve the management of what funds I do have so there is always enough, no matter what happens.  I don’t know why people resort to begging, and it is not my job to judge them one way or another.  Money doesn’t ever seem enough, though I don’t have the time to try to fix the world.


Am I just too softhearted?


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Changing the hearts of the people

As I read through various articles and blogs on how various groups are biased or government it trying to take away peoples rights or how the world is going downhill fast, I’m reminded that there is a great need for us all to get back to basics. The first part of that is simple – learn more about your own beliefs, strengthen those beliefs, and (most importantly) live them.

The next part does not appear to be so simple – changing the hearts of the people. It may be frustrating to think that our leaders (political and spiritual) are a reflection of the people they lead, especially when you disagree with what they are doing, but you might have to deal with the fact that what you believe is in the minority. Ranting and raving about how unfair it is or how evil those leaders are will do no good. That’s a fast track to being marginalized and pushed aside (Fox News is an example).

In Christian teachings, we’ve been given a pattern for this (2 Timothy 2:24-26):

24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

In LDS scripture, we have additional insights (Doctrine & Covenants 121:41-43):

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

If you want to change the world, work to change those around you. Teach, not tell. Dictating to others what they should believe makes you no better than those leaders you believe are dictating to you what you should believe. If you want to change the world, start by showing more love to those around you, especially those you disagree with. Faults are much more likely to change when they are pointed out by a friend rather than an enemy. If you want to change the world, start with being in the right place, then invite others to join you. Your example is far more compelling than any blog, article, or treatise.

The world cannot beimproved by having morelaws, edicts, press releases, or documentaries. It can only beimproved by changing the hearts of the people.

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