Sometimes I try to help homeless folks or whatever. I think most of us do. But it just tweaks me off when they are rude and unfriendly.
I started helping this guy who, very presumptuously, asked me to walk to a place 5 minutes away, and then 5 minutes back in a direction I wasn’t going so I could bring him two boxes of Little Debbie treats. And he was kind of demanding about it. He didn’t want to get up to even go with me so I wouldn’t have to walk the five minutes back. And I doubt it was a coveted location he was risking losing, sitting in front of a FedEx in North Decatur. I did it for him but was a little reticent next time I saw him. The least you could do is ask kindly, buddy and work with me here.
Then another time as I walked past, the same guy cajoled me to sit down, which I do sometimes, and we usually have awkward conversations. But this time he pushed hard for me to do it even after I told him I was in a hurry. And when I sat down he basically asked me if I was interested in doing some homosexual acts.
So… Basically he was rude, inconsiderate, and wanted me to do perverted things for his pleasure. It made me want to say, “Well, now I know you just want to get things out of me. You aren’t even trying to appreciate me, my time, or me as a person, when that is what I’m trying to do for you. Makes me not wanna help you.”
But Someone who works with people experiencing homelessness pointed something out to me the other day. He said, “Part of the reason they are homeless is because they just aren’t very likable. That is part of their ailment.”
And that put things into a different perspective. With regards to everybody, actually. We are all likable or not, partly as a function of our upbringing and our experiences and just our genetics. Some of us just rub people the wrong way on accident, and don’t realize we’re not being grateful or gracious. We don’t realize we’re talking over people, or asking for what it’s hard for people to give. And sometimes people think, “Well, I just won’t help them.”
And maybe the poor that Jesus tells us to help sometimes are the ones who just weren’t given a very likable personality. The poor in personality.
And I think it is probably still our job to respond with kindness, from whatever storehouse of likability we were given.