I had an encounter yesterday...an encounter with a homeless man. He came in to Living Water to get help to get a prescription filled. We have a rule that we don't fill a narcotic and this was borderline---a medicine to detox from drugs and alcohol. But I decided the $10 to fill the prescription would be worth it to share Jesus with him (and for him to get clean!).
As I shared, I learned this homeless man had murdered a man and gone to prison for it. While in prison, he'd studied many different religions--one of them being Christianity. He showed me his WICA tatoo and told me that was the religion he'd chosen. But once he'd gotten out of prison, he'd gone to church to give Christianity a shot. He met a man there who took him under his wing. He knew this one man loved him. As a young man (and before he was homeless), he had been in a rock group, so it was only natural that he turned to music in the church. The only problem was the church he'd chosen was in the south and very traditional. When he approached his music minister with the desire to sing a song he'd written, he was told that the song was too "rock 'n roll" for church. So...this man left the church...never to return. He decided the church was too full of hypocrites. And he hasn't changed his mind.
I tried every train of thought and scripture I could think of to point this man to truth, but he was hung up on the fact that the Jesus he'd read about in the New Testament was radically different than what he encountered in the church. Jesus, he said, was just that...radical (eating with sinners), he showed forgiveness (the adulterous woman) and he LOVED. (This homeless man also knew his Bible stories.)
He was leaving. I asked if I could give him a tract that he could read later and he refused...he'd lost a lot of vision with the drugs and couldn't read. I prayed with him. He left.
I was so sad. I was also convicted. Do I love like Jesus? Do I love like the one man in the church who showed this homeless man love? Do I care more about the church rules or do I radically love others?
A homeless man can teach you a lot.