Appearances can be deceiving. In fact they can be extremely deceiving. During my years as a police officer, I remember several occasions where I would get a call to a house. Usually for some kind of domestic problem. I would get to the house and it’s a nice house with nice cars in the drive. But the inside is a mess. Sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively. Meaning the family structure was in shambles. I quickly learned not to judge the situation I was going into by what the house or people looked like on the outside.
The bible says this about appearances: Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
The same should be true when we see a homeless person. First of all, we don’t necessarily know by looking that they are indeed homeless. We can usually have a good guess, but it takes a little more getting to know the person to know for sure. More importantly though is that we have to retrain ourselves to look past the clothes and the place and look at the person. One of the reasons it’s so good for groups to come and work with Church on the Street is that the individuals get the opportunity to do more than just pass out food or clothes. They get the chance to build a relationship, even a short one, with a real person who is just like them. The only difference is that one has a house and one doesn’t.