“People construct their own picture of reality based on what they experience and want to believe. Widespread hunger and poverty are not part of that reality. Even when confronted with hungry people and conditions of poverty, Americans on the whole simply cannot believe or imagine the suffering because they seldom see it; when they do, it is a threat to their comfort, so they choose not to think about it. Blocking poor people from our minds, however, may be a passive way of wishing they did not exist, and it is a cause of many deaths” (Simon, 73: The Rising of Bread for the World).
Upon reading it, I know that some are ready to throw up their defenses and make all types of excuses, but before doing so, ask yourself a few things. Have you ever seen anyone begging and starving for food, other than in a movie on T.V? If you did, what did you think? Did you think that they were losers and lazy and that was why they were in the state they were in? Or did you pity them, do nothing, and turn away? Have you ever seen someone standing on a corner while you were in your car, asking for food or money? What did you do? Have you ever rowed up your window and turned your face away, so that you did not have to hear their screams and cries for mercy? Did you think that whatever you gave them would go to booze or drugs anyway, and so there was no sense in giving it? Did you just watch and stare until the light turned green, so that you could pull away and be forever freed of their reality that they have to face everyday? Have you ever thought that whatever you did to help the poor would be useless because there was just so much poverty? Have you ever thought that if you actually got involved that you would have to give of your time and money, and so you should not to make sure that you had all of your needs met?
I have. Maybe not to the same degree of the questions that I made above, but in one way or another, I have. And I know that there are people that take advantage of the system and are out there begging for things just to get rich, but I also know that we tell ourselves this so that we do not have to do our own part for the least of these. Largely, all over the globe and all over our country, people are in poverty, suffering and struggling to make ends meet. They do without necessary things, such as adequate food, shelter, health care, and transportation, not because they are being lazy, but because somewhere down the line, they have been cut a raw deal. Somewhere down the line, I came to the conclusion that I could no longer ignore it, as this thing kept looking me dead in my face. Even though I am a student and don’t make much money at all, I have no excuse. Neither do you!
For the love of Christ compels us
2 Corinthians 5.14a