Faith, Grace 2012, Never Beyond, Second Chances

Broken People


I had to make a field visit to see a client at Pinellas Hope.  She had been living in her car before someone gave her gas money to drive to Ocala to stay in a home of a friend.  After months of keeping in touch with me, she admitted that she was in an abusive situation and needed to return back to Pinellas County NOW.  Thankfully, a friend gave her to gas money to get back home and within days of returning, she found admittance to Pinellas Hope.

Pinellas Hope came into being after the local homeless started a tent city on the property of the Catholic Charities soup kitchen/transitional housing property.  Police, Pinellas County, the City of St Petersburg, and other social agencies came together to provide food, medical care, and other social services.  You might remember that tent city ended badly.

Catholic Charities took some of their property associated with a large cemetery and they started Pinellas Hope, where the homeless could have somewhere to stay and associated social services.  What was supposed to last only 1 year has now been ongoing for 5 years.


I was greeted by the site of the first picture, except that it has been pretty rainy here and the ground had been muddy and was now dried.  What got my attention more than what I saw of the physical location was the smell and the broken people.  It took about half a day to get the smell out of my nose.  The smell of washed but sweaty people and of moldy, wet stuff.

Pinellas Hope is a tent city.  There are tents set up over about 5 acres of the 10-acre property.  There are transitional apartments that are available for those that have income.  There’s a huge dining patio covered in tables and chair with industrial fans to move the humid air.  The residents are fed by donations and groups who bring in meals.  People move like ants over the property.


I had to sit for about 15 minutes before I met my client.  I watched as people walked with their heads downcast, staring at the ground, not talking to anyone. They scurried to their next location; some with purpose, some without.  The way they held their bodies, the heads, the looks on their faces broke my heart.


God uses broken, imperfect people because I think he likes to show how people can be redeemed.  Think Saul (Paul), who persecuted the new Christ-followers to death including the martyrdom of Stephen.  He has a MAJOR conversion experience (Acts 9) on his way to Damascus.  He then becomes one of the greatest New Testament writers and missionaries.

God took an evil, broken man and used him to propagate The Word throughout the rest of the world.  He was the spiritual father to many people in the New Testament.  If God can give him a second chance after he had early Christians murdered, then why can’t we give others second chances?  We’ve all be the recipient of a second (or third or fourth) chance.  I suggest we soften our hearts and be more forgiving to those that have hurt us or committed some trespass.  Visit People of the Second Chance for ways to start.  Or, even better, read the passage in Acts 9.  Because, if God can forgive someone who persecuted His children, then we should be able to forgive too.  Perhaps it’s us that can be used to do greater things after we’ve failed.

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10 thoughts on “Broken People”

  1. I love your heart Sandy<3 This is Beautiful. I'm so thankful for those who reach out to the homeless and bring hope to the hopeless. No one ever plans homelessness or depression and the truth is,none of us are immune to the possibility.The Good news is we all have hope through Jesus Christ. Where there is still life,there is still hope. Regarding forgiveness,I asked the Lord once in deep despair and financial loss,how many times I had to forgive a business associate for stealing from me. He only needed to answer me once,that which my heart already knew,yet my pride had struggled to accept. I found his answer clearly here in "The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant "
    The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
    Matthew 18:21-35
    Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talentsg was brought to him.Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.“The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.h He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.

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  2. Thank you Sandy. You captured the essence of the reason I go to Pinellas Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter. I have experienced the change on those downcast faces when I look them in the eye and smile! I am addicted to the way Jesus works through me and reaches out to the tender, broken hearts. He loves through me bringing hope to the hopeless. A little love & respect for people in this situation brings a lot of dignity and encouragement which can be the catalyst for change in any life.

    I am looking forward to visiting Pinellas Hope at the end of this month (29th) for a Change Your World outreach. It will be my first time. Let’s pray the church responds too and steps into the call God has for us. What a witness we will be for His glory!

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  3. How very sad for these people to feel as though they need to walk with their heads down. Most people try. When someone tries, it gives them the opportunity to see and believe the good within themselves. It is fortunate for them to have such loving caring people, like yourself, to remind them. I believe the that patterns can be broken but, sometimes people need someone else to help them do this. It is a hard process and life habit to overcome. Thank you for sharing. Thank you also for caring so much for people. People in your everyday work and life. I love you

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