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That Homeless Guy...Who Lives Behind My House - by The Very Rev. Dr. Herbert G. Hand

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

A month ago a homeless guy was living in the woods behind my house. Sometimes I’d see him sneak into the thicket to spend the night. Sometimes I’d hear him singing. Sometimes I’d see him walking towards Germantown Parkway to hold up his cardboard sign and seek assistance. He made me uncomfortable. I didn’t know if he was safe. I didn’t know if he’d steal from my house or yard. I didn’t know if he would harm Mary or me.

I told my next door neighbors about him. One was horrified that a stranger was living in the thicket behind our houses. He was wondering if we should inform the police and have him moved out. The other was glad the nameless homeless guy had found a safe place to spend the night.

I began to wonder. Was the nameless homeless guy up to some nefarious no-good? Was he a Veteran – a wounded warrior – who could no longer cope with the normal work world, and eking out a living the best he could? Was he a man who had been rejected, abused, and never truly known love? Was he a sojourner trying to get home to his loving family? I wondered. I was getting over my fear and about to make his acquaintance. I wanted to know his name and his story. Then he moved on. I’ll never know.

What does Holy Scripture say about the nameless homeless guy?

Don’t Wrong or Oppress Him – “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:21).

Love Him – “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:19).

Don’t Neglect Him – “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).

Feed and Clothe Him, Visit Him – “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40)

Sadly, I didn’t do any of that, but I was about to. By God’s grace, I hope to next time! Join me.

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