My Poverty Immersion Experience (5): It’s Just People, Man. It’s Just People.

Catch the series here:  posts one, two, three, and four.

One of the leaders on the poverty immersion weekend, and employee of one of the local homeless ministries, said it often: “It’s just people man.  It’s just people.”

On the final night of our weekend, we spent the late hours of the night not addressing poverty “out there,” but vulnerably reached down into our souls to find the poverty within us.  We’re just people, man.

When I returned from life as a teacher and missionary in Haiti, among many poor, I was struck with a great paradox.  In Haiti, in the midst of great poverty and tragedy, people were genuinely happy.  I returned as a youth pastor, tending to young people who had so much if not everything, who were genuinely unhappy.  Cutting.  Depression.  Bipolar disorder.  There was a poverty in their wealth, and it permeated in the air.  We’re just people, man.

People in poverty don’t have many things that people not in poverty have.  But the opposite is also true.  We’re all rich and poor in different ways.  We’re all.just.people.

God sees us in such ways.

Granted, we’re all uniquely and wonderfully made.  But God doesn’t see a CEO here, and an unhoused person there.  In truth both could be just as brilliant and resourceful –I learned that too.  God sees people.  Hurting people, joyful people.  People that love and people that hate.  People that pray and people that don’t; and people that don’t let on that they pray.  And God, full of compassion, loves each of us.  God doesn’t love our jobs or our status or our wealth.  God just loves us.  May I see what God sees in people; and may I love like God loves.

 

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