Romans 1:21 "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
One of the hallmark traits of those who would reject God in their knowledge is that they become unthankful. It was, therefore, with great interest that I read from the Disaster Relief Effort News a report that according to an article by David Streitfeld of the Los Angeles Times, Katrina relief workers say, "We don't want any more used clothing." The article goes on to say, "There is also a moral component: Just because someone is homeless doesn't mean he or she should be wearing hand-me-downs." Is there something wrong with saying, "We don't want any more used clothing"? Not if one has enough. But to say, "We don't want any more used clothing because used clothing isn't good enough" and "it is morally wrong to expect someone to wear used clothing" is completely unacceptable. My mother used to have a saying, "Beggars can't be choosers." It's really a fact of life. If one is in need and someone offers something to them that satisfies that need, then one ought to be thankful for having that need satisfied. To complain and say, "This isn't new so I'm not going to wear it" is simply being unthankful.
Now, I'm certainly not talking about used clothing that is worn out. If clothing is old and unusable then obviously one ought not to expect another person to accept it; it would defeat the whole purpose. However, if the clothing is in good condition and can be worn, then why would one turn one's nose up to such? Let us consider the many people who shop garage sales and purchase used clothing on a regular basis. If used clothing is good enough for them, then shouldn't it be good enough for those who are homeless? Consider also those who shop at stores such as "Good Will" or some other thrift type store. If the clothing in those stores is good enough for them to purchase, then why wouldn't it be good enough for someone who is homeless to accept? Certainly, it would be. So what causes people to have such an attitude of unthankfulness? The fact of the matter is that there are many in this nation who are spoiled. They simply won't accept used clothing when they ought to be thankful that they have someone who cares enough about them to give them something.
I make no exception for myself. On occasion I purchase new clothing, if the price is right. However, I don't turn my nose up to used clothing simply because it is used. There have, on occasion, been several who have given me used suits or other clothing that I can use. I go through it; if it is my size, then I will wear it. If not, then I try to find someone else who can wear it. I'm thankful for those brethren who consider me in that regard. I'm also thankful for those who give old children's clothing to me. Some have recently done that. But were I to say to them, "I'm sorry, but your used clothing isn't good enough for me", then I would be no better than those who made the statement above. There is nothing immoral about expecting someone who is looking for clothing to accept used clothing! So there is certainly nothing immoral about expecting someone who is homeless to accept used clothing!
I dare say that any individual who came out of the depression would have turned their nose up at used clothing. Those individuals knew what it took in order to survive. Not only did they accept used clothing, but any scrap of cloth upon which they could get their hands. They used that cloth to stitch together clothing that would work. They were thankful for every single bit they could get. Why? Because they knew that they may not have the opportunity to get a bit the next day. What would this generation say regarding the generation that turned down what they valued? They would rise up and call them by what they are, unthankful!
What does the rest of the Romans chapter one say about those who are unthankful? "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves…" (Romans 1:22-24) Are we, in this country, not currently fulfilling the exact same words as the Gentiles of old? Awake to righteousness, dear friend.