Be Kind to the Homeless You Meet

Don't 'Punch Down' on the Homeless

By Rev. Steve Whitaker
President & CEO, John 3:16 Mission

Over my career at John 3:16 Mission, I’ve heard people refer to our homeless neighbors using a variety of pejorative terms. Suffice it to say, “lazy hobos” pretty much sums it up. For some, the term “homeless” has even become synonymous with “criminal.”  

In any case, such terms are hurtful. They are also unproductive. We can never forget that homeless folks are facing a true crisis and the worst time of their lives.

As people of faith, we cannot join those who would disparage them, whatever the causes of their predicament.  

I’m here to say we should never “punch down” on hurting people. Instead, what they need is our presence – and with that, both our prayers and practical assistance. It is only in being present and really hearing their stories that we discover the true humanity we all share, and healing can begin.