Sunday, January 30, 2011
Thursday night, we held our month Laundry Love-type event, "White as Snow". While these nights are always full of extra energy, people, quality conversation and fun, I think what stood out to me most this week was a less-than-5-minute conversation.
One of our more outspoken friends was ranting about a "boy in a wig" who'd made him mad...and then proceeded to rant about all "boys in wigs" and his negative feelings towards them. This particular guy hangs out in this area a lot, is sporadically homeless, and knows most of the people here. But he is straight and considers himself a Christian, making him a bit of a rarity.
He and the guy who were conversing and laughing about the topic are two that I'm comfortable enough with to be pretty blunt. So I confronted the topic of their conversation and the harsh way in which they were talking about people. How their sin of dissing people unlike them was no better than the sin of those they were negating. That joking about how they were probably molested as kids wasn't funny, and that the fact that their lives were in some ways ruined by some jerk was reason to give them MORE compassion and understanding, not judge and hate. How LOVE is what will help bring change to people, not hating and making them feel worse about something that was done to them.
The topic just kinda dropped as he apathetically wandered outside, and I went on with responsibilities of helping people out inside the laundromat.
A few minutes later, as I chatted with some volunteers, he came back inside and said, "you were right."
"Huh?" I asked.
"You were right, about the boys in wigs. I had to think about it for a few minutes, but I decided you're right." And he kept on walking right past me to talk to someone else.
I laughed at the randomness, then inwardly triumphed a bit in my "win" for a second. But the more I thought about it the following day, the importance of that moment struck me. Through a brief, honest encounter with someone, his mindset towards others had changed a bit. God had directed him closer towards biblical thinking and away from cultural attitudes.
God doesn't only have us on Santa Monica boulevard to tell people about Jesus. Most people already claim to know Jesus and believe the Bible. But evangelism is about more than telling people who Jesus is and stopping there. It's about discipleship, correcting faulty assumptions about God, and about showing people who they are in Christ, how to model Jesus, and how to spread the gospel on their own.
God can use us to change the perspective of someone so that it more accurately reflects Christ and His values and His love. And slowly, if perspectives and wisdom are passed on, culture can change. If one person starts treating the outcasts on their own turf with more love, understanding and respect, that seed can spread and grow to others.
It's a known fact on the street that no one really trusts another. They just co-exist because they're all hanging hussling in the same place. But what if just a few more actually modeled Christ and loved another?
Share what you have, with whoever you can, wherever you are....and let the Kingdom come.