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Is he really in need? Before you judge .....
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By Gil Clelland - Teaching Pastor, Sanctuary London


On a winter morning, while driving down to Sanctuary's office, I was listening to morning radio banter. The two hosts discussed an interaction one of the hosts had experienced on the way home from work the day before. The host recalled the moment that he approached an intersection where a homeless man was flying a sign. A scrap of cardboard shared the man's request for assistance followed by a simple blessing.

The host suggested he had wanted to respond to the man's need until he saw the homeless man's brand new winter boots. The host felt that this perhaps not even "homeless" man did not need assistance if he could afford new boots. Maybe the man was just trying to deceive folks into a mercy filled response so he could make some extra cash. The host shared that he drove by the man.

That interaction became fodder for radio debating the worthiness of assistance for needy folks. My heart broke as I recalled that I had recently handed out a new pair of boots to one of my friends on the street.

Instead of simply keeping him warm, these boots had become a symbol of wanting to scam others. The boots perpetuated and perhaps even intensified the judgement this man regularly receives.

Is he really needy? Does he really deserve my help? Shouldn't he be helping himself? Shouldn't he get a job? What's wrong with him? I'm fine in my car...I'm a success...I can do it. Why can't he?

May I recommend that we wait a few minutes before we judge? Can we hear a person's story first? Can we extend grace instead of judgement. Jesus took our judgement already...now, it's a time for grace. And our homeless friends need that grace today.