The Outcast. Mental Illness and Homelessness.

(I give permission for anyone to copy any of my posts.)

I have a sister who lives at a campground. Some of the sites are for permanent residents and the rest are for campers. She lives in a motorhome. After living there for awhile, she found out a man lived on the property who did odd jobs for the owner of the camp and its residents.

She asked this man if he would clean off the roof and do other tasks for her. She got to know him and realized he wasn’t quite normal. She found out he used to be an executive at a large corporation, but his young wife had died of cancer and he had a nervous breakdown. He told her he was in a hospital for a few months and was better for a time. A few years later, he had a girlfriend who also died, in an accident I think.

After that, he was in a permanent depression and just couldn’t cope with life at all. He lost his job and was homeless for a long time. Somehow, he got a small camper and lived in that. He came to the campground and asked the owner if he could live there by doing odd jobs and he told him he could.

My sister knew him for at least five years but told me he was going downhill. He started going to a psychiatric hospital occasionally. Later, when she would ask him to work for her, he forgot or took a few weeks to do it. Eventually, he quit doing all work.

Around that time, they started talking about God. She bought him two Bibles, one a graphic novel type and another regular Bible. She spoke to him of what God had done for her and how she loved being a Christian.

He told her all the Christians he had met were unkind to him, especially two people at the park, one of them the manager. They had promised to pay him a certain amount of money and then cut his pay in half after he was done. He said he had tried to go to churches, but the people there didn’t want him. He said he was surprised she was a Christian because she was nice to him.

A few months later, she found out the owner and manager had kicked him out because he wasn’t working enough and his site was messy. She doesn’t know where he went.

When I think of that man, I think of the word, “Outcast.” Then I think of Jesus, a friend of outcasts and who became one himself. I also think of mental illness and how misunderstood it is.

As I’ve written before, I have a mental illness and my sister told me most of the homeless people she met have had either a physical or mental illness. They are people no one knows what to do with. They are without a rudder in this cold world. People look down on them and ask, “Why aren’t they working? They look healthy enough to work!”

I’ll tell you why. They probably can’t concentrate, they may be terrified of people (like me), they are afraid to work because they know they will make mistakes and people will yell at them, and they can’t bear the thought of that. (me) Their memory isn’t good. They will forget what you told them to do, or misunderstand instructions. (me) They don’t have a car, bus fare, clothing. They are sometimes so nervous they cannot speak. (me)

If I didn’t have a husband to support me, I’d be homeless myself. Well, my daughters would take me in. I am blessed that way. My family understands my illness and loves me.

I’m writing this because I wish so much that the world would do something for these people. I know how complicated that is; although I did read about a city in Canada that built apartments for all the homeless and made it a law they couldn’t live on the streets. It has worked out wonderfully and is actually saving the city money. Maybe it isn’t as hard as we think. We have a terrific Premier in BC, where I live. He is doing a lot for the homeless. I admire him.

Well, I said what was burning in my heart tonight. Here are some verses from the Bible about outcasts.

The blind man Jesus healed:

They answered and said to him, “You were born entirely in sins, and do you teach us?” And they cast him out. When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, He found the man and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

 “Who is He, Sir?” he replied. “Tell me so that I may believe in Him.” “You have already seen Him,” Jesus answered. “He is the One speaking with you.” “Lord, I believe,” he said. And he worshiped Jesus.   John 9:34-38

A parable of Jesus:

So, they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.   Mark 12:8

Verses about Israel:

If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you.  Deut. 30:4

I will make the lame into a remnant, and the outcast into a strong nation. Then the LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever.  Micah 4:7

Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.   Zeph. 3:19

Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age.   Isaiah 60:15

Treatment of the poor:

What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?” declares the Lord GOD of hosts.   Isaiah 3:15

What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws.

They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people.

They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans.

What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land?

To whom will you turn for help?

Where will your treasures be safe?

Isaiah 10:1-3

It is a perilous thing to take advantage of the poor.


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