It’s easy to believe what we see. It’s the first of our five basic senses (i.e., sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste) that gets our attention. I use my eyes especially when I’m out taking long nature walks. I pay close attention to the details all around me. I look at the variety of flowers and trees, signs of animals and insects, and, of course, who else is nearby. If I’m at the beach or out boating, I look to see how choppy the water is, if there are other boaters around, and whether anyone is having luck catching fish.
Appearances can be deceiving, however. Our brain's interpretations of what we see can lead to false perceptions. It’s easy to make an incorrect assumption based strictly on sight. Who hasn’t reached for the handle of a pot cooking on a stove or a cup with a hot beverage, only to learn it was hotter than we thought. Similarly, something appearing to be soft and subtle can in fact be rough and prickly.
If God wanted us to think with our eyes – to form an opinion strictly based on what we see – our brain would be found there too. Though what we see can influence what we think, our assessment of a situation can’t stop there. We must be careful about our assumptions and be intentional about gathering other data and information that will help us make correct assessments and informed decisions. That screaming baby in the store may not be due to a negligent mother. An encounter with a quiet, reserved person may not mean they are stuck-up. That restaurant hostess who is terse may not be inept.
The same is true of our thoughts about the homeless. Don’t judge the unhoused based on what you see. Unsubstantiated negative perceptions hurt. How we think about the homeless matters. People too quickly assume that homeless people messed-up their lives and that they are all alcoholics, drug addicts, and violent. While it may be true for some, it is not for most of them. We don’t know their circumstances. Almost everyone is a disaster away from panhandling and dumpster diving. We all need to do our part by advocating for shelters and helping when we can.
For more about me and how I am doing my part to promote the awareness of and improve the quality of life for the homeless, check out B.A.T.C.H., an ACCOLADE Celebrations initiative, created to respond to the homeless in the local community. #careforthehomeless #actsofkindnessawards #followus #stayuptodate #celebratingexcellence