Anna’s Heart on…
Homelessness in Movies
I’ve seen a lot of movies, especially Christian movies, with homeless people in it, whether they are the main part of the story or not. Some have it pretty accurate, and others just play on your emotions making you feel sorry for them and trying to make you feel ashamed that you don’t give money to those homeless people standing on the corner holding signs…that almost always say, “God Bless”.
This picture and statement is totally true and totally untrue. For some people it is a condition…a habit…a way of life…and most importantly…a choice. This is what bothers me more than anything. I have given a lot of money over the years to different people in different situations but I stopped giving money to the homeless people that carry the signs asking for help…to me they are the ones that are there by choice, not doing anything to change their situation and I’ve been taken advantage by the homeless so many times that I made a decision not to give cash.
I am willing to take someone to lunch or take them some food, or buy them groceries or give them information about Jesus, but money…no. We’ve even given homeless people a temporary job as we could. That never turned out well. We’ve even gone to far as to open our home up to some homeless (several families). We were taken advantage of every single time in one way or another. It does tend to discourage when this happens.
Don’t get me wrong…I still love them and I still pray for them and sometimes help in small ways, but as I said before…no longer cash. What is so disturbing to me is when movies portray a man or woman as heartless because they don’t give money to the homeless carrying the sign, or they portray them giving money to the homeless with signs, and somehow that makes them a better person or a real Christian.
I remember in one movie a man throws a water bottle at a homeless person and says some unkind words to him. Not sure if it’s the same movie or a different movie where he even yells out to get a job. Now, THAT is terrible and definitely not showing love, but let’s face it…most people may not say get a job, but most people are thinking it.
Does this guy look like someone that can’t work? Another thing that irritates me is that I see job openings all over the place, wherever we go, even in the small town in which we live. I also found out just recently that most towns have a work force place that usually comes to libraries to help with resumes and finding people jobs.
There are also ways to get help at the homeless shelters and many people do get help there and eventually find a way to change their circumstances. I’ve met several people who were homeless but aren’t anymore. Those are the stories that warm my heart, sort of like ‘A Christmas Wish‘, which is a delightful little film about a mom and her children who end up basically homeless, living in their car. If you haven’t seen that one yet, watch it!
The bottom line is…we need to be merciful to all, and this needs to be shown in more Christian movies, but with some wisdom as to how it portrayed. We should be careful not to make Christians feel guilty for not giving money to every person they see that is poor or homeless.
So…this brings me to the next thought because this may help you or someone you know. There are a lot of people out of work, especially those that had high paying jobs. There are jobs out there for them to find, but it will take starting over again, even possibly at McDonald’s. There is NOTHING wrong with that. I remember reading a true story about 2 teenagers. (The age is irrelevant in this case). Both boys got jobs at McDonald’s. The one boy was a regular employee, doing the bare minimum to just get a paycheck, complaining the entire time.
But the other boy, he had perseverance and drive and patience. He determined to be the best employee he could and as he showed his worth to the company he asked the manager for the manual to study about being a manager. Soon he became assistant manager, then manager, then regional manager…all with the purpose of owning a McDonald’s…which now he does. I can’t remember if he owns one or several.
I read recently about how we are to look at problems. when we focus on our problems, we’ll be discouraged and complain about them and possibly even quit. But what if we looked at problems the way Thomas Edison did? He learned over 30,000+ ways of how to NOT make a light bulb until he succeeded. What if, like Mother Teresa, we look at problems as blessings. What if we look at problems as blessings, opportunities, and even new adventures? I dare say…there would only be encouragement in our path.
Now THIS is what truly breaks my heart. I hate the idea of any child, youth, or teenager on the street, especially the pregnant teens that have been kicked out of their homes. There are a lot of movies about homelessness in general, but several stand out as must see films:
- Gimme Shelter (Teenager)
- Saint Street (Powerful)
- A Cross to Bear (Prepare to really cry on this one)
- Homeless for the Holidays (One that really makes you think, but lighthearted too)
- The Christmas Choir (True One)
- Clancy (Child) (Another tearjerker)
- Harlem Grace (True one)
- Come the Morning (Billy Graham Classic)
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