By Dan Crain, South Atlanta Community Facilitator
A few years ago a good friend visited a community living out reconciliation with neighbors on the street in midtown Atlanta. This is a friend that has a huge heart for those on the margins and has done what all of us have done when we see human need, we jump in and do something.
This time it was different.
I prepped Doc about the way REMERGE had set up community with those on the margins of society. We don’t place a lot of effort on helping people experiencing homelessness or poverty.
Our effort is to live out the reconciling work of Christ first and foremost and then out of that let the helping flow in whatever capacity that means.
This is why Dignified Interdependent relationships are so important in our work. Joining our lives with those on the margins is not a one-way flow of resources and time. It’s a community where all parties participate.
What happened during his time was beautiful as Doc describes in his own words;
“I truly enjoyed the way that it was indeed a community, not just a “feeling”, but truly a sense of people caring for people. When you asked me to come to lunch, it was nice to not have any idea of what it was that I was stepping into. The pleasant surprise of coming there and sharing in small group bible study with everyone was not only refreshing, but truly life changing. Praying for the homeless is something that I have done many times before, but to turn the tide and have this one man who was sitting next to me lean in and ask, “how can I pray for you?”
This helped me to realize that it isn’t about providing a solution for a temporary fix.
It’s that those in need are truly kind, caring people who want to give as much as they receive and in some cases even more. I was astonished at myself and really surprised at how upside down I had this in my mind. It wasn’t that I needed or wanted anything but when a man who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from asks you how he can pray for you… it has a hard, sobering way of putting things into perspective of what truly matters.
The entire day that we spent together not only helped to shape my thoughts and curve my heart towards the person and not the problem, but it enabled me to see that what I had learned about problem solving in most any situation should be dealt with on a much deep level. To truly peal away the layers and realize that there is not just one solution for a problem, but, that if we all stop and take inventory of what is truly going on within the dilemma then we get to see that God is revealing His true design in all things and that His heart is to care for His whole creation and not just how we see fit. I am truly changed by this experience and will use these precious moments to help alter the way that I continue to see and process all that I see and experience in this world.”
We pray that we all learn the beauty and joy of what happens when we join our lives together with those on the margins of society.