By Faith Williams
In class the other day, we were talking about homelessness. The question was raised, “What are the criteria we have when deciding if a homeless person deserves our help?” Slowly and somewhat ashamedly, answers were given and people began to explain what they felt made someone “justified” in asking for help.
I definitely pass judgments I shouldn’t, but as I thought and listened, I couldn’t believe some of the things I was hearing… and some of the things I have even thought myself. Then a voice spoke up from the front of the room, voicing the thought I couldn’t articulate. (And I do my best to quote what was actually said.) “I disagree with all of this. I don’t care why someone is on the streets or whose fault it is that they are there. The fact is they are. And when it comes down to it, I get down on my knees every night and beg God for blessings and help I don’t deserve. I will NEVER deserve them. I will NEVER pass His test. I will NEVER be as good as His Son, but He still answers my prayers, and He still helps me. Even though I don’t deserve it, to Him, I am worthy of His help.”
I instantly was reminded of two things, one a quote and one a scripture.
“Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest of us do exactly the same thing? Isn’t that why this compassionate ruler asks, “Are we not all beggars?” Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.” -Jeffrey R. Holland
“And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.” -Alma 34:29
Let’s remember our brothers and sisters wherever they are. Let’s reach out and help those who are struggling. Let’s be “our brothers’ brothers” and not cast them out and mock them and scorn them. Let’s make a difference, and remember, that in some way or another, we are all debtors.