Love our City – Understanding Poverty

What does it mean to be poor? Chances are you are reading this from your smart phone or tablet and your definition of poverty would be to describe the homeless person you see begging for food on the side of the road or the little kid with a snotty nose, no shoes & not at school.

To be in lack & without material items is a type of poverty, a very visible poverty. But to be put in the position of lack there is a root to that, an invisible poverty. If we understand the root, the invisible and deal with that then we should make some progress to see the cycle of poverty broken instead of just putting a band aid over the issue and say we helped.

The Bible is super clear in instructing us to look after the poor and most vulnerable in society. If we look at 1 John 3:16-18 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” We can very clearly see we are called to look after those in need.

But before we jump in and start giving away our material possessions it can be helpful to look a bit deeper and ask questions before offering solutions to the issue. One can often offer a solution based on their perspective of the situation. Try to look at the issue from the perspective of the person that is in need and then start to think of helpful solutions.

Figure out what is the root to their issue. Whether materially rich or poor each person can be suffering from an invisible poverty that needs to be uncovered.  What shame are they walking with? Are their broken families/relationships that need healing? Is there a lack of forgiveness? Is there a lack of empathy?

Take time to get to know someone, really get to know them. Then help.

By Brett and Claire Jones