Do you remember the last time you walked past a homeless person? What were the thoughts that ran through your mind? Did you try to walk past them as quickly as possible or did you stop and wonder what circumstances might have led them there?

For those of us who are privileged enough to have a roof over our heads, it’s difficult to understand how the homeless end up on the streets. There are many complex reasons why—it could be due to family breakdown, poor mental health, struggles with addiction, or perhaps, they were simply seeking a refuge from their own homes. Regardless of the reason, everyone has a story worth listening to–and the act of simply listening to their stories, or trying to find out what happened to them may lead them closer to their true home—Christ.

It’s easy to look at a disheveled, homeless person on the street and think they ended up there because they didn’t work hard enough or can’t take care of themselves. But let’s treat them with the dignity and compassion that they deserve. If you feel afraid to approach them alone, grab a friend to come along with you and start small. Buy them a hot meal. That’s a powerful way of saying: “You matter. I see you just as Jesus did.”

As Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

  • Try engaging them in a conversation.
  • Offer to buy a hot meal for them.
  • Smile, make eye contact and say “hello”.
  • Sit with them and listen to their story.