One kind of person I just don’t understand is the fearful. People who avoid other people because they don’t know how they will react. People who sidestep or manipulate instead of dealing with things straightforwardly. People who tell others what they want to hear instead of the truth.
Last year, a partner church wanted to pull out of their essential work with us, mostly because they feared the people who were on the church grounds. I asked them to come and meet them and they refused, saying that they’d just would rather not deal with them at all.
Last week, a long time worker and friend decided to spread gossip about a co-worker and to leave, never to come back, rather than face the co-worker with me and the accusation.
Yesterday, neighbors came to complain about our people and I asked them to come over during our monthly barbeque and to meet some people, in a safe context. They were too afraid to approach people.
I understand why they are afraid. There is an irrational prejudice against the homeless, which gives people a feel that all homeless are criminal and dangerous. But this is an assumption, not based on rationality. The best way to eradicate fear is to face it, and to realize that homeless people are people.
When invited to come out behind their fear, in a safe context, the fearful don’t take that chance. I just don’t get it. They say that their situation can’t be lived with, but they expect the situation to disappear rather than to safely face it.
I am mystified and frustrated. It is one thing for those who don’t have Jesus to avoid uncomfortable situations, but I can’t understand how those who stand for the one who died on the cross for us, who faced down those who wanted to put him to death, afraid to welcome sinners into their church.
I’m sorry. I’ve got no answers. I’m just ranting, I guess.
I’d be open to any suggestions to how to help the fearful to move toward safety, even if that means taking a chance.