The face of God

If God had a face, what would it look like?
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like Heaven and in Jesus and the saints
And all the prophets? And…

Yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make His way home?- Joan Osborne “One of Us”

A medium time ago I met an older homeless man on the street. I was having a bad day and could tell he was making a beeline for me. As he approached I simply raised my hand up to his face and side-stepped him and kept going. As I passed by I turned and noticed he had stopped and was slumped over. As I kept walking a wave of guilt engulfed me. I had no clue what this man wanted, I made an assumption, right or wrong, that he was just going to ask me for money that he would use to buy booze, drugs or cigarettes. But honestly, I didn’t know because I didn’t give him an opportunity to tell me what he needed.

I turned around and headed back his way to talk to him. I couldn’t believe I could treat another human being as rudely I did. I needed to make this right and I needed to make it right now. But I couldn’t find him, it was as if he had simply vanished. I covered several blocks with no luck. He would have been easy to spot and there were no real side streets or alleys that he could have slipped down.

I thought about this man all night, what his story was and how easily that could have been me. What separated us, one mistake, a bad decision, mental illness, family, a lost job, the line between us was probably very thin, thinner than I knew or would like to accept. His disappearance shook me to my core. What if he was an angel sent down to test me? A test I failed. Or maybe he was God, “Just a slob like one of us” and I missed an opportunity to bring the kingdom here on earth by helping someone in need and in turn helping myself.

In Denver I was approached by a young man in a dark parking lot. He said he was a teacher and had his wallet stolen and needed gas money to get home. I looked him in the eye and asked was $5.00 enough and he said yes. I reached in my wallet and gave him the money and he disappeared into the night. My wife just looked at me and shook her head. She said you know he is just going to buy drugs with that money. I looked at her and smiled and said maybe, then again. “Just a stranger on the bus, Trying to make His way home”.

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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19 Responses to The face of God

  1. Great post and compassion : )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. manqindi says:

    Yeah, yeah God is great, whoever he may be

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good on you, for your compassion. “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” That’s what I try to keep in mind when I see these people. Maybe you’re being suckered, but maybe you’re actually helping someone in need. I say, err on the side of caring.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. William Tell says:

    As a homeless person myself, I face the same dilemma from both sides almost every day. In the end, one needs to “go with one’s gut” in each situation. The donor needs to humble oneself, and have mercy on oneself, in case one’s made the wrong decision. But God gave us intuition for a reason, and judgment for a reason, and one is responsible to use those gifts as best one can in any situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. William Tell says:

    (Having some difficulty posting a reply to that response.) It was a combination. From the long post I wrote on the subject:
    “It was a conspiracy.
    My virtues and vices ganged up on me to render me homeless.”
    Maybe this link will work this time:
    https://williamatell.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/entitlement-2/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. i love this…thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thought provoking …fear based assumptions and judgments versus more close to heart, soulful and human responses …

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow I love this! It really makes me pause for thought. It’s such a challenge for us to truly take the time to appreciate how our words, actions and non-actions affect others. Thanks for this! It’s a big challenge to show compassion even when we don’t feel like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JJS says:

    Thank you for this post. I’ve seen some really contentious discussions about why one should not give to panhandlers, but I can’t remember any scripture griping about someone being too generous to the wrong person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful point. I don’t live in a community that has a lot of panhandlers, primarily because our police department makes them disappear to keep our downtown looking like the cover of Southern Living. I am not in a position to judge, none of us are, but I am in a position to care as we all should be. Thanks for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Like

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