A: Let me ask you a question: If this ministry didn't exist, what would happen to the homeless in your community? The answer is clear: Some probably would die for lack of food or shelter; others might turn to crime to keep from starving. In other words, just because you see the same people all the time isn't necessarily a sign of failure; if nothing else, you're helping them stay alive.
Never forget, you aren't just serving the homeless through this ministry; you're also serving Christ. He loves them just as much as He loves you, and He wants to use you to demonstrate His love to them. Not everyone you try to help will understand this, and some will take advantage of you. But not everyone whom Jesus helped responded the way they should have, either. On one occasion, Jesus healed 10 lepers, but only one returned to express his thanks (see Luke 17:12-19).
At the same time, perhaps those of you who are involved in this program can do more to help the homeless, beyond simply giving them a meal and a place to sleep. Could more be done, for example, to help them get jobs? Do some need more education?
The greatest gift you can offer them, however, is the gift of God's love through Jesus Christ. Pray for those you meet, and ask God to help you point them to Jesus. He said, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40).
Q: I've always heard that "God hates the sin but loves the sinner," but is this really true? How can God love someone who abuses children, kills innocent people, or things like that? I know I sure can't. — L.H.
A: If God only loved people who are perfect and worthy of His love, then He wouldn't love anyone — because we're all imperfect and unworthy. As the Bible says, "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10).
But God doesn't look at us this way. Instead, the Bible says, God loves us in spite of our sin and rebellion, and He has done everything possible to demonstrate His love to us. Think for a moment of all the good things God gives us that we don't deserve: our lives, our families, our health, our freedoms. Even the next breath you take is a sign of His love for you, whether you realize it or not.
The greatest demonstration of God's love, however, was in Jesus Christ, who gave His life so we could become God's children and go to be with Him in heaven forever. We deserved to die for our sins, but Christ died in our place, because of His love for us. The Bible says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Human beings are capable of terrible deeds; you have mentioned some of them. Because of them, we deserve nothing less than God's judgment — and His judgment is certain. But God's love is greater than our sin, and when we repent and turn to Christ for our salvation, God forgives us and gives us new hearts and new lives. Have you turned to Him for the forgiveness you need?
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.