Many feel that Mother Teresa was a saint. She spent her life helping others. She cared about all who were needy...including the unborn. She considered others equal to herself. When we look at the global issue of poverty is not equality at the heart of the issue? Is each person as deserving as me? What if they make bad choices and are lazy? I work hard for my money so am I not entitled to all of it?
I am greatly concerned about the selfishness all around me embedded into our society...our philosphy of living can be summed up something like this...My life is more important then your life. I don't care if "you" suffer as long as it doesn't affect me.
Allowing the poverty we see to continue is a matter of convenience for those who have at the cost of those who have not.
Do the unborn have rights? Or are they less deserving then hardworking useful people...
Our life view has become so warped that our wants as "women" outweigh the needs of our own children. How are we supposed to fight poverty when we each live exclusively for our own selves? Why would we concern ourselves with the needs of the poor when we have already hardened ourselves against the weakest and the neediest in society?
My words may sound brazen and offensive to many. And yet how many of us put our own wants above the needs of others every day. From the harsh example of abortion to small and selfish acts in our daily routine. I have sat on the computer (I don't think I am the only one) when my preschooler begged me to make breakfast. "Just a few more minutes, Sweety," I say as I continue typing. Those few minutes drift into an hour and my hungry child goes and finds something else to do with a rumbling tummy. When I realize how long it has been I feel horrible. I am guilty as charged with letting my wants come above the needs of others. I had the power and ability to help my child eat and yet my own selfish desire to finish what I was doing side-tracked me and I allowed my child to go hungry. I valued my want above my daughter's need.
As long as our society puts "our own" rights to have and do whatever we want above the rights and needs of others we can not begin to put a dent in poverty.
Waiting for the Trolley in San Francisico
.......trying not to look at the homeless people laying nearbye
The homeless picture is not my own...and yet it could have been. What a contrast on our trip to San Francisco...three well fed and loved children waiting for a trolley in San Francisco... not more the 50 feet away lay a number of homeless people. Crowds of people walked by and never once made eye contact with any of the cold and dirty people laying on the sidewalk. Never once offered a helping hand or a kind word. I was among the crowds and joined in by ignoring "them" too. I was disturbed by my own reaction when I got home that night and thought about it from a nice warm bed.
Can we change our foundational beliefs to value each life as equally deserving? That homeless woman lying in the streets of San Francisco on our trip last summer who looked like she was in pain... why didn't she deserve my time and energy? Why didn't I stop and ask if she was ok or if I could help her with anything? Why did I not make eye contact with her? And what did I tell my children? Those people laying in the street are homeless. They have no place to live. It is very sad. Some people are homeless but they have a shelter available if they want to go there? It isn't our responsibility? Why did I not tell them....Children we need to go offer to help these people that no one cares about. I know we are here to have fun on a trip, but they need help. Let us go offer some food and human company to them. Let us show them they are worthy of love and kindness.
There is no easy answer. The poor will always be with us. The Bible tells us if we see our brother in need and do not help then how does the love of God abide in us? I believe the most important thing each person can do is to begin to value each life as precious and unique. Each life as worthy of caring for and of reaching out a hand to. Is it more important to spend my money on my hair and lunch with coworkers then finding a worthy humanitarian ministry and giving to those who are truly in need? Can I not spend that extra "fun" money on food for the hungry? Houses for the homeless? Clothes for the unclothed? Oh I know many have made poor choices and will continue to make poor choices. For some, their poverty is due to their own addictions, laziness, mental illnesses, etc. But is their value based on how smart they are and the choices they make? Or is their value based on being a member of humanity created unique and wonderful in God's own image. Something to think about. If we all spent just one tenth of our time (2.4 hours per day) helping to be a part of the solution...Wow! How much could be done to help eradicate poverty. Time spent helping someone learn how to read so they can get a job? Time spent bringing blankets to homeless people? Baby sitting, food pantry volunteer, even praying...Who knows. Be creative. Be a part of the solution.
As long as we put our needs and wants above others, we will not be able to make a dent in the poverty around us. It must start with us as individuals....one hand reaching out to another in love and hope.