This month the Impact Community is doing a series called “Conversations.” It is series designed to foster better relationships between the mainstream white evangelical church and four different marginalized people groups. Each week will include an apology letter from the church to that community.

This week we discussed the homeless community. This is our apology.

Dear Homeless Community,

I’m sorry.

I know it’s not every day you hear those words from me.

But that’s where I wanted to start.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that too often I have chosen to overlook you. I’m sorry for every time I have crossed the street in order to avoid awkwardly passing you; for every time that me eyes glance downwards, refusing to look into your eyes; for every time in my actions I have made you feel as though you are less than human; I am sorry.

In my better moments I have compassion.  In my bad moments I wonder what you did to find yourself in this situation.  In my worst moments I simply and arrogantly ascribe your loss to laziness, assuring myself that no respectable and hard-working person could ever wind up in your shoes.  I rarely, if ever, stop to think of the dizzying array of circumstances, some completely outside of your control, that might have led you to this point.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that I refuse you basic generosity while refusing myself not even the smallest of pleasures.  I’m sorry that I tell you I have no money while walking into Starbucks.  I’m sorry that too often I deprive you even of the basic generosity of conversation and touch.  More often than not I have believed lies about you.  I have told myself that I’m better.  I have done anything but follow the gracious, loving and compassionate model of our Savior and Lord.

For this I am sorry.  I’m sorry. You deserve better.  Jesus’ name deserves better.

Please forgive me,

Signed The Church

(Letter by Benj Petroelje and Sarah DePriest)