By Barbara Mizell, Religion Editor
The Picayune Item
I recently watched an episode of the television show “What Would You Do?” which featured a homeless man being fed by a good samaritan, only to be refused service and taken advantage of by the “bartender” (paid actor) in order to document people’s reaction to the situation.
Some people were put off by the homeless man’s dirty, unkempt appearance, and commented on his “unique” aroma. They didn’t feel he should have been served inside the restaurant.
Others actually felt sorry for the guy and quietly and politely put up with the inconveniences in order for the man to receive a decent meal.
When the bartender took the homeless man’s money and refused him service, most everyone came to the homeless man’s defense, some even threatening to call the police if the money was not returned. If the bartender didn’t want to serve him inside the restaurant that was his right, but he did not have the right to take the man’s money — even though his excuse was to “keep the man from buying alcohol”.
Most of the reactions were typical and what I expected, but there was one man who was actually brought to tears over the homeless man’s plight.
He was an older gentleman with a long white beard, and the lines in his face proved he had lived — and that his life was full of sorrow.
When asked why he stood up for the homeless man, he replied (and I am paraphrasing), “there but for the grace of God, go I.”
The show did not go into details if this man was a veteran or not, but after his reply a notice flashed on the screen saying that a large number of our veterans are homeless. (107,000 on any given night).
I have to admit, this brought tears to my eyes, because I understood what the elderly gentleman was saying. Sometimes despite our best efforts, we as humans, cannot hold things together. We are all just a few paychecks away from being homeless.
What would you do? What would Jesus do? I think that is important for those who are able to help those who are not. Not only with money, but with time and encouragement. How many times do we pass someone on the street who is obviously down on their luck and just look the other way.
I thank God for that elderly gentlemen, and for whatever hardships he might have had to endure, because they did not leave him hard-hearted. We should all strive to do the same.