We recently started studying a new book with our American friends. In His Image: Understanding and Embracing the Poor.

Together we are 7 people working with the poorest of the poor. Well, saying that, I personally don’t get too much of a look-in (thankfully) as I am caught up with the slightly less poor who can afford to go to private university! Anyway, the topic of this book seems pretty apt. for us all. ¬†How to see each person made in the image of God. Each person was made with ‘original goodness’ (Genesis ch. 1) which existed before original sin (Genesis 3). How easy it is to tell people they are sinners and forget to mention that they are worth a bucket load and made in the image of the creator. That alone is special.

So why is it that the poor make is so incredibly hard for us to see that image? Our experience in Chincha, what seems like light-years away (but the scars are still there), was less than positive. We were surrounded by people who had grown dependent on handouts and weren’t really prepared to learn something new in order to better themselves. The few who really touched our hearts worked day and night and this made us want to help them all the more.

Paul works with lots of families who do everything they possibly can to survive, let alone climb out of poverty. But it is the few who want to live off of you like  leach that almost completely obliterate your perspective.

The person who has so many problems and spends his money unwisely meaning that his children don’t have enough to eat. He then blames God for punishing him and doesn’t provide. Why can he not see that he lives the consequences of his own decisions?

The person who gives all his money away to buy presents for his ex-girlfriend – to try to buy back her love, and then has nothing to eat and so turns up at our house at lunch time just expecting we will have enough for a third person.

How do we deal with these people and at the same time not tar everyone with the same brush?

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