The Bible and Homelessness

Being a pastor it is easy to preach! My last blog, “Homeless Is Not a Disease,” may illustrate this. There are things that need to be preached. It is hard not to preach in defense of the homeless because the Bible is supportive of the poor, the hungry, and the homeless.

The ESV translation actually mentions the homeless poor in Isaiah 58:7. The real telling scripture about the homeless is Leviticus 25:35-36(HCSB translation) “35 If your brother becomes destitute and cannot sustain himself among[a] you, you are to support him as a foreigner or temporary resident, so that he can continue to live among you. 36 Do not profit or take interest from him, but fear your God and let your brother live among you.”

No doubt some will say that is Old Testament. I would offer from the New Testament James 2:15-16(KJV) “15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” God cares for the poor!

God’s expectation for us is to take care of the poor and hungry. It is to compassionately minister to those in need. This is the heartbeat of West Virginia Rescue Ministries. I would be derelict in duty to not advocate on their behalf. I have to employ my energy to see that they are fed, housed, and clothed. That is why Union Mission serves 3 meals a day, houses the homeless nightly, and operates a thrift store (Penny Pincher, 113 Fairmont Ave. Fairmont) to clothe those in need. This is why I would gladly welcome your partnership in this endeavor.

I must be assertive in my advocacy of the hungry, homeless, and needy. To care for the poor was drilled into me from my childhood. It is my parent’s legacy that I care for the poor. But it also is God’s heart.

It is common sense to take care of those in need. It is socially responsible to make provision for the homeless. It is also biblically accurate. If anyone could spend a day with the homeless their understanding of the homeless person’s plight would grow and become compassion.

The homeless need a voice and someone to hear that voice. Let me close this blog with Proverbs 21:13(HCSB) “13 the one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor 
will himself also call out and not be answered.”

Thank you for hearing the cry and answering.

George E. Batten
Executive Director

Homelessness is not a Disease

It is my job as the Executive Director of this homeless ministry to state emphatically, “Homelessness is not a disease.” In fact it is not contagious. Homelessness can be based in economics; not earning enough to cover the basics of life or poor money management. The homeless may not earn enough because of education and/or area employment opportunities limit income.

Mental illness can also cause homelessness. Addiction to drugs and alcohol causes homelessness. As you can see many issues create the intolerable state of homelessness.

I have never met a homeless person who set out to be homeless. I have met many a homeless person who made poor choices that led them to being homeless.

If homeless people cannot bathe, receive calls from potential employers, and be located in a timely fashion homeless people cannot find employment. An endless cycle develops and any hope for improvement vanishes.

All homeless people are not lazy. All homeless people are not criminals. All homeless people are human and deserve the respect we would give any other human being.

All homeless people, beyond needing food and shelter, have a deep inner need. If you discover that person’s need … you can change that person’s life forever. A moment of caring will cure a hurting person. Every human needs compassion.

The stereotypes placed on homeless people are often cruel and those stereotypes many times destroy any hope of recovery. Even doctors have become homeless, lawyers too. People have fallen a long way from societal position because of addiction. Addiction is a choice or at least begins with a choice.

Union Mission provides a place to bathe, eat, receive phone calls, and a place to heal. Compassion is demonstrated to homeless and hungry people every day and in every way.

Homeless people need interaction, love, conversation, and intervention of a heavenly kind. Union Mission stands to be that place of refuge, where all of this is offered. It is offered because homeless people have to be given the respect that allows them to make their own choice.

My wife and I have raised five children and we have learned you cannot fit any child into the mold of the first. Likewise homeless people are individuals with choices, right or wrong, that they must make.

Union Mission invites your compassion for the homeless so we can remedy the intolerable state of the homeless.

George E. Batten
Executive Director