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Homeless in America: What I Learned About Compassion

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

Through my fast (which will be finished by the time this gets published), I have been asking for God to break my heart for the things that break His heart. Today, I am sitting here in a church sanctuary, where the members of the church are taking in people from the local shelters and giving them food.

The people who are coming in are from various backgrounds. Despite the background, the people share something in common — pain. Not physical pain, but the pain that withdraws your hope and your happiness. The same pain that causes you to speak with exhaustion. The pain in their life has suffocated their desire to have hope. You can hear their hurt as they discuss their situations. Many had different plans for their life, and they wear their pain on their sleeves. Others seem pretty jovial, but when their story comes out, the disappointment and shame blankets their face.

It is evident the pain has become a normality and ultimately they have succumbed to the path they have followed. You can see it on their face as they bring their children in with them. I don’t know if it’s because during this time of fasting my spirit has become extremely sensitive, but out of nowhere a few tears came down my right cheek and I cannot help but hurt for them.


The Cambridge Bible Commentary says, the bread of life means the bread that gives life, which is similar to the tree of life (Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22; Genesis 3:24), and the water of life (Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1). The commentary explains, “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” While the body has its needs until hunger returns, God will satisfy the body’s spiritual needs forever. In other words, Jesus is to the soul, what bread is to the body.

The people I see today are receiving bread that, while it may not look like much on the outside, this young pastor is introducing them to the divinity of God — bread that was sent down from heaven to sustain their life and give them the power to rule over their circumstances. The soul requires sustenance and sustainability, and this can only come from the power of God.  Similar to bread, which provides the restorative minerals, fiber, and vitamins to sustain us, the bread of Heaven provides a purification. He removes all the impurities or unwanted substances.

It is because of these hurting souls that we must align our lives to the vision of God. There are people around us hurting, and some are ready to give up. We drive and walk by people every day who need spiritual food. Are we withholding this vital information that will restore areas of their lives which require cleansing?

One gentleman, in particular, was well-dressed but had no home. He traveled from Philly to Boston just to end up being shunned by those he loved. He said he has nothing but this shelter. He explained he felt far away from God and the hurt made him feel unloveable. The pastor told this man if he will accept the bread he is offering him, he will never thirst or hunger again and have an eternal home in the Kingdom of Heaven. What the devil tried to devour, God will restore.

My prayer for all of us is that our hearts will be softened and filled with compassion for the hurting and the lost. May we no longer prejudge those we see. May we no longer be like the dog who eats vomit (Prov. 26:11), or someone who returns to his vices. Let’s break that mold. May our hearts break for the lost and those who are hurting. Lastly, I pray we decide to humble ourselves, pray and seek the face of God for not only our own souls, but those within our community.

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About Raymond Mills

Raymond Mills, Sr. is a Master of Divinity candidate at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, MA. He believes in bringing hope to the fatherless generation and encouragement to those that have lost hope with the word of God. He is a writer for Grow The Heck Up. His blog, Living A Renewed Life, was created to show others your best is yet to come and it is never too late to turn the page. Raymond also serves as a Minister and mentor to other young adults at his home church in Providence, RI. Raymond is married to his best friend, who has blessed him with two beloved children.

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