what does the bible say about homelessness and human dignity

In some cases, those social programs are not enough and additional assistance is necessary. Current Advocacy Position The Catholic bishops believe decent, safe, and affordable housing is a human right. It can be very difficult to discern at times who is truly needy, and who is taking advantage of the generosity of others. Paul is addressing the church in Thessalonica, where there were some who were idle and refused to work, instead choosing to be busybodies in other people’s affairs. The views expressed here are the author's own. ", -- Isaiah 58:10 - Contemporary English Version of The Bible. A number of social programs in the United States and other countries have been developed that are designed to provide for those who are struggling. This post was contributed by a community member. And only God has eternal value and intrinsic (that is, in and of Himself) significance. (Exodus 23:11). © 1995–2021 All correspondence and questions should be sent to info@ucg.org. Over a month ahead of election day, Pastor Tony Evans urged U.S. citizens to consider the value of life — both inside and outside the womb — before voting, warning that ignoring what God says about human dignity … When I feed the homeless, it warms my heart when they say, 'thank you,' or offer a little change to pay for their meal. There are also those who take the money they do receive from others and use it to purchase drugs and alcohol to feed addictions, or attempt to medicate their mental illnesses. ( Ecclesiastes 5:8). John 13:16 ESV / 490 helpful votes. What's your perspective on issues like feeding the hungry, fighting abortion, helping the homeless, and working to end slave trafficking? KING JAMES VERSION (KJV) WORDS OF GOD AND JESUS IN RED. Human dignity is the starting point and central concern of Catholic thinking about human rights. What Does the Bible Say About the Homeless and... For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you will you may do them good: but me you have not always. It makes them feel a little more human to be treated with dignity. The Bible also teaches us that the human person is a unity of body and soul: “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). The views expressed in this post are the author's own. After a six-year period of service, they were released on the seventh year and received a jumpstart on getting themselves reset financially (Deuteronomy 15:10-11 Deuteronomy 15:10-11 [10] You shall surely give him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him: because that for this thing the LORD your God shall bless you in all your works, and in all that you put your hand to. That's right. Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. Are you curious where The God Of The Bible weighs in on this issue? Where do Jesus and The New Testament of The Bible stand on the question of the poor and homeless? God’s glory, His weightiness, His importance, His significance, is what the Bible uses to describe the fountainhead of all dignity. Psalm 72:4 (C.E.V.) Eventually Rosendahl would have caved in to them, and leaned hard enough on the police that they would have impounded Jesus's cloak - and later they would have gambled among themselves to see who got to keep it. Consider Leviticus 19, and its admonition to love others, including the elderly, widowed and poor, thereby laying some … From Mark Ryavec and his "Venice Stakeholders" - to Bill Rosendahl and Zev Yaraslofsky - to the Police tasked with making the lives of the homeless miserable - to the residents of this community who look the other way while these persecutions take place...the Bible makes clear that  : "…THE PEOPLE…HAVE USED OPPRESSION, AND EXERCISED ROBBERY, AND HAVE VEXED THE POOR AND NEEDY: YEA, THEY HAVE OPPRESSED THE STRANGER WRONGFULLY." As you have probably guessed, I myself am "a believer", and I'll tell you :  in times like this,  when a handful of powerful and vocal homeless-haters are orchestrating a non-stop propaganda campaign of fear and loathing against the un-housed of Venice - while calling any of us ("believers" or not ) who have a heart for these unfortunate people terrible names, and publishing our home addresses so that their crazy violent friends can make threats against our lives, it is comforting to me to realize that there is one BIG and Extremely Powerful Friend on our side of the issue. "Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world" "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. He taught from the Jewish Old Testament, nor did he deviate from its perceptions about God. The Bible is equally clear about those who oppress, victimize and persecute the homeless and poor. It is inherent. Very few available jobs - especially for someone without a shower or an address. Each person is created in the image and likeness of God and therefore has a God-given dignity. And therein lies the biggest difficulty with the homeless issue in America today. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to webmaster@ucg.org. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. In ancient Israel, God had a system in place where those who had a loss of economic opportunity could sign on to work with someone for a period of time, trading their labor for a roof over their head and meals. As for all the false statements and false accusations made by "the haters" against the poor and un-housed, consider Proverbs 21:13 : If there are any "Venice's Finest" reading this, please permit me to say something to you : Most of us who live here in Venice appreciate the risks you take and the job you do for this community, and I know that you are under authority, that you have to do what you are told to do - but when you are impounding a homeless person's vehicle because he broke a "law" that says he's not allowed to shelter himself or sleep in it, and when you are preventing it from being released to him until it has rung up such exorbitant storage charges that it must be abandoned by its impoverished owner (with all of his worldly possessions still inside it because he was prevented from  retrieving them),  bear in mind that in the Bible, God has said : "ROB NOT THE POOR… NEITHER OPPRESS THE AFFLICTED…" (Proverbs. d. To the needy who are unable to work. They are already victims of an economy gone bad, the last thing they need now is to be victims of hatred, fear, scorn and persecution on the part of the community. Proverbs 30:14 (Contemporary English Version - "C.E.V.") He taught in the synagogue, and the Jews who heard him teach called him "Rabbi". Discernment and wisdom is required, however, as it can be very easy for us to do more harm than good in our desire to help. The great thing about "Freedom OF Religion" is that it is also "Freedom FROM Religion". Galatians 3:28 - There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. But I also can't help wondering about some of the "social justice" and "human rights" issues … Human Nature: Body and Soul. Note that Jesus quoted it to his followers : "For ye have the poor always with you..." (MT.26:11). Ultimately you are going to have to answer to a higher authority than your desk sergeant or shift commander. This conviction is grounded in our view of the human person and the responsibility of society to protect the life and dignity of every person by providing the conditions where human life and human dignity are not undermined, but enhanced. "He that is higher..." - that's God, folks. In Leviticus 25:35 (King James Version of the Bible), God tells the people (and tells us) : "THOU SHALT RELIEVE HIM, YEA, THOUGH HE BE  A STRANGER, OR A SOJOURNER; THAT HE MAY LIVE WITH THEE". It directs us to have compassion and mercy on them, to give to them, to help them get something to eat, a toilet to use, someplace to clean up, some area where they can lay down overnight without being molested by the police or victimized by violent criminals or zealous community-vigilante groups, maybe some clean clothes, maybe some medical help, some counciling - and above all, some dignity and respect. On the other end of that spectrum are those individuals who have chosen not to work, instead choosing to panhandle, or solicit funds from passers-by. The Bible states that the poor will be with us always (Mark 14:7 Mark 14:7For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you will you may do them good: but me you have not always.American King James Version×). c. To the parentless or abandoned children. It appears from these examples in Scripture that it was not God’s intention that people find themselves indebted in such a way that they could never recover. You get to decide for yourself what YOU are going to do about it. Still, a 2011 Gallup poll discovered that, on average, 8 out of 10 people in America have some level of belief in the validity of the Bible and the existence of its God. Read more about Human Dignity here. Thanks for taking the time to read and consider the ideas presented in this article. Jesus had no home throughout the time of his ministry. Latest U.S. coronavirus news: Death toll could hit 500K before March, Biden chief of staff says; variant could become dominant here. street. Dignity, by biblical definition, is tied to the biblical concept of glory. Street between 9PM and 6AM - then later they would have trumped up some bogus accusation (such as "defecating in the rosebushes") and run him off of 3rd. To continue to be the church we read about in the New Testament. Privacy Policy  Terms of Use. But what does the Bible have to say to Christians in the age of self help? What about "transients" - the word that many of those who despise the homeless here in Venice use to describe the un-housed that they are so anxious to have us get rid of? The Bible tells us that God sees it all : "IF THOU SEEST THE OPPRESSION OF THE POOR, AND VIOLENT PERVERTING OF JUDGEMENT AND JUSTICE…MARVEL NOT AT THE MATTER: FOR HE THAT IS HIGHER THAN THE HIGHEST REGARDETH IT, AND THERE BE HIGHER THAN THEY." There are some who are legitimately in need—who despite all of their hard work and effort have fallen on difficult times. In ancient Israel, God had a system in place where those who had a loss of economic opportunity could sign on to work with someone for a period of time, trading their labor for a roof over their head and meals. http://www.gallup.com/poll/148427/Say-Bible-Literally.aspx?utm_source=ta... 36th Annual Celebration of the Rev. I, for one, wouldn't want to be around when the lightning starts landing in the vicinity of those who have made a practice of abusing the poor and homeless just for their own personal political and financial gain. This is true whether their own parents forsake them (Psalm 27:10), they … Answer: Any honest study of the Bible must acknowledge that man, as God’s special creation, has been blessed with certain “human rights.” Any true student of the Bible will be stimulated toward ideals … Why not take a few minutes and read some of the ideas about homelessness presented within the pages of The Bible? 5. (Gn 1:26-27) o The human person is made in the image and likeness of God. Even those of us who do not will readily acknowledge that the Bible is perhaps the most influential book in Western Civilization - informing our society's laws, customs, values, morals and ways of thinking. A "sojourner" is defined as : "a temporary resident", in other words a "transient". In fact, in Leviticus 19:33, God commands : "…IF A STRANGER SOJOURN [ meaning : "if he lives as a 'transient' "] IN YOUR LAND, YE SHALL NOT VEX HIM"  [alternate translation : "ye shall not oppress him"]. The lives of all humans, both their own and others’, are to be cherished and guarded. The Bible also asserts that life according to the desires of the flesh that don’t withstand respect for other human beings is loss of and abuse of human dignity. Christians have a duty to speak about and toward those experiencing homeless in ways that recognize this God-given value. To the homeless. OK, fun is fun, but there's really nothing funny about the plight of the unfortunate poor and homeless in L.A. (in general) and Venice Beach (in specific). Since life belongs to God, humans do not have absolute autonomy over their own lives but are stewards of the life given to them by God. While it is understandable that local governments want to clean up the city, homeless people are not pests that should be removed. The current investigation is a planned, systematic study of dignity as critical to understanding the experience of homelessness and improving services and programs for the homeless. Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Register for a user account. I guess if Jesus  had walked the streets of Venice, the police - under pressure from the City Council - would have first told him that he couldn't sleep on the Boardwalk, but that he could sleep on 3rd. I am a creature—I come from the dust. Additionally, every 50th year (that is, after seven cycles of seven years), was the Jubilee year when all outstanding debts were forgiven, and all properties returned to their original owners (Leviticus 25). Jesus was 100% down the line with what God had said in the Old Testament about the oppression of poor and needy strangers and transients . The question we must ask ourselves is whether we are truly helping, or whether our support is enabling and exacerbating an existing issue of some variety. National Guard Vetting Underscores Inauguration Security Concerns, 'Almighty Dollar' More Important To NCAA Than Health, Coach Says. But we want to begin to separate what some people claim is biblical from what the Bible actually says. God cares for the helpless. United Church of God is a 501(c)3 organization. The ideas of human dignity and respect for all didn’t develop in a vacuum. He was making clear that he was not teaching anything which contradicted what the Old Testament said, but rather that he was the embodiment of it and had come to fulfill its prophecies . Our service efforts cannot substitute for…just public policies, but they can help us practice what we preach about human life and human dignity. There will always be those who, as a result of their own actions, or actions that are out of their control, find themselves in dire economic straits and wind up with an inability to provide for their basic necessities. The Bible is equally clear about those who oppress, victimize and persecute the homeless and poor. And according to Scripture, He's got a LONG memory! It appears that HE thinks that providing food to the poor and homeless is a good idea. The Bible couldn't be any clearer on the subject. It becomes clear that it is also God’s intent that we do what we can to care for those who are poor and are in need. As a matter of fact... JESUS IS THE MOST FAMOUS HOMELESS PERSON IN HISTORY. Shelter beds and potential housing relief is available for MAYBE one out of five of them…the rest have no real way out for now. For instance, in the Old Testament book of Job, Job says : "…(because of God,) THE POOR HATH HOPE, AND INIQUITY STOPPETH HER MOUTH" [meaning that evil, itself,  has nothing left to say] (Job 5:16 ), "…THE CRY OF THE POOR COMETH UNTO HIM (to God), AND HE HEARETH THE CRY OF THE AFFLICTED" (Job 36:6). Want to post on Patch? The Bible teaches that we are to be radically different from the world in how we view and treat our neighbors. Homelessness and human rights "Homelessness is a profound assault on dignity, social inclusion and the right to life. John 13:16 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. I'm a believer, and I sincerely want to "serve my own generation by the will of God" (Acts 13:36). HOMELESS PEOPLE  IN THE (JEWISH) "OLD TESTAMENT". The Bible admonishes us repeatedly to care for the poor among us. As Christians we absolutely need to care for those who are in need—the difficulty is determining who is truly needy. The Islam Texts Society puts forth the idea that human dignity is the basis of human rights. "Give food to the hungry and care for the homeless. I, for one, wouldn't want to be around when the … Hounding them from one community to the other is no answer, neither is persecuting them or making them the object of hatred and fear among the housed community. Personally, I think it's time to "stop hating and start helping". What is the Bible's perspective on such people? In serving them, we serve Christ. (Ezekiel 22:29). Adam became a living being by the breath of God (Gen. 2:7), and if God were to withdraw his breath from humans, they would perish (Job 34:14–15). You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. Mark Ryavec would have submitted a blog to PATCH railing about how Jesus was a dangerous violent criminal and the residents of Venice weren't going to allow him to threaten their safety and serenity...and his hand-picked political agitators would have burned up Bill Rosendahl's phone lines demanding that he protect Venice homeowners from this dangerous derelict. 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Throughout the Bible are admonitions to care for the poor and to care for those who are in need. doesn't pull any punches, commanding : "LET THE KING DEFEND THE POOR, RESCUE THE HOMELESS, AND CRUSH EVERYONE WHO HURTS THEM", " RESCUE THE WEAK AND HOMELESS FROM THE POWERFUL HANDS OF HEARTLESS PEOPLE", "…LORD, I KNOW THAT YOU DEFEND THE HOMELESS AND SEE THAT THE POOR ARE GIVEN JUSTICE.". RESPONSIBILITY a. What does the Bible say about Human Dignity? "The poor shall not cease out of the land…"? What about those among us who make "victims" out of the poor and homeless…who use political pressure to criminalize them… condemn them…impound their vehicles and meager possessions and leave them destitute on the sidewalks…who oppose and obstruct the attempts of private individuals and groups to provide them with food, clothes and services…who whip up local residents into a hysterical frenzy against them and try to get them run out of town or worse? Human Dignity Quotes "At stake is the dignity of the human person, whose defense and promotion have been entrusted to us by the Creator" Saint John Paul II, Solicitude Rei Socialis "For, by his Incarnation, he, the son of God, in a certain way united himself with each man" Vatican II They are in need of a helping hand to get themselves back up on their feet. "The Law" and "The Prophets" are references to  parts of the Jewish "Old Testament" of the Bible (from which the above quotations are taken). 2. In Leviticus 19:10 God further commands the Jews that they not "gather every grape of thy vineyard", but instead : "LEAVE (a portion of) THEM FOR THE POOR AND STRANGER". The Bible is clear: it is expected that we will care for the poor and needy among us. Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Trevin Wax about his new book Rethink Your Self: The Power of Looking Up Before Looking In , which explores this very topic. He used to call himself "The Son Of Man", and he is reported to have said : "…the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but THE SON OF MAN HATH NOT WHERE TO LAY HIS HEAD." b. However, as Christians we know that all human beings bear the image of God (Gen. 1:26) and thus have indelible dignity. However, the apostle Paul explained another aspect we must consider: “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10 2 Thessalonians 3:10For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.American King James Version×, King James Version). Here's the good news. We must agree that homeless persons deserve human dignity, invest in our social services and support reintegration at their own pace. (Psalm 10:2) : "THE WICKED, IN  THEIR  PRIDE, DOTH PERSECUTE THE POOR : LET THEM BE TAKEN IN THE DEVICES THEY HAVE IMAGINED" - Which means, "let the harm they have attempted to do to the poor fall upon them instead". He would have been busted along with a couple of other homeless malefactors (who may have actually been criminals) and probably all three would have been made into public examples - to discourage other homeless from being in Venice. Click the button below to continue. They are human beings who bear the image of God (just like you and I do) and should be treated with dignity and compassion. As Christians, we absolutely need to care for those who are in need. Each member of the human family is equal rights because we are all children of … 4. So, while the Venice - Mar-Vista PATCH site  is in no way a religious forum, it is likely that most of us who come here embrace the Bible, its God and its teachings to some degree. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, … (Dt.15:9), "...THE POOR SHALL NEVER CEASE OUT OF THE LAND: THEREFORE, I COMMAND THEE, SAYING, THOU SHALT OPEN THINE HAND WIDE …TO THE POOR, AND TO THE NEEDY…" (Dt.15:11). As Christians, shouldn't we just concentrate on evangelism? HOMELESSNESS IN THE (CHRISTIAN) NEW TESTAMENT. Just as homeless as that scruffy guy rolled up in a sleeping bag in the alley next to the pizza place on Main Street at the edge of Venice. Does this make God a member of what those who oppose aiding the  un-housed call "The Social Services Mafia"? Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not … The Bible recognizes that poverty, social injustice, and homelessness are real problems that constantly plague society (Mark 14:7). The starting point and central concern of Catholic thinking about human dignity social... 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