Tell them to “get a job”!

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Just get a job? It’s not that simple!


Working at a homeless shelter I hear this and many other stereotypes. It breaks my heart when the public in their ignorance say rash and hurtful phrases. I hear these most when I am in the community fund-raising for our shelter and other services. We often go to businesses and set up out front asking people for change. As people are walking out with their purchases, coming to our table and holding back $1 and $2 coins and give a dime, or nickel and sometimes a quarter, often people will walk by and say that they (the homeless) need “to get a job”, or they need to “stop being lazy”.

I do want to share that some people who come to our shelter are very motivated and will not let their circumstances get in the way. I have seen some people find a job and residence within a week or two and be back on their feet, but I have also seen many people look for work and not even have an interview.

Lets take into consideration the people who come to a homeless shelter. I mentioned in previous blogs that people stay under many different circumstances: addictions, mental health problems, down on their luck, travelling and/or homeless by choice. Someone who stays in our shelter has to leave in the morning, stays in a room full of other people they do not know, use a homeless shelters address on their resumes, only have so many meals provided and these are just some of their direct challenges. Lets also look at depression, guilt, low self-esteem, malnourishment, exhaustion and many more emotional challenges they need to overcome.

People know that they have made mistakes and know what they have done that has lead them to our doors, we then need to speak encouragement, life and try to motivate them/help them look past their circumstances. Some times it is hard for the “average” person to acquire a job, and they do not have a lot of these hindrances staring them in the face.

If we ever want to help/end homelessness then stereotypes like these need to stop! . Why do we continue to divide our society? Why do we continue to build walls between social circles and discriminate against others? Why does our society continue to push people who are down even lower?

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

Loving our neighbour shouldn’t be just a suggestion, but a way of life. We are called to love these people as if it were Jesus Himself. We need to help people get things in order, not to tear them down with our words and actions. Orphans, divorcees, poor, Samaritans, lepers and more were the very people who the biblical community stereotyped, but who Jesus welcomed, loved and helped everyday.


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