Sunday, August 28, 2011
Jesus just makes sense.
I get that people have had some really jacked-up experiences with church and Christians. But the more stories I hear and situations I see, the more is just makes sense to surrender it all to Jesus. Life sucks without him. The answers we're all seeking are only found in Him. Why fight it? Wordly "freedom" is not freedom at all. It's an illusion of freedom that covers up the chains of sin that bind us.
This Thursday, one of our friends from the street brought out an older man who he's been hanging out with. Similar to an "escort" type of relationship, minus any physical stuff. Basically, the guy is so lonely, he pays people to hang out with him. Or at least pays for food, drugs, and whatever will keep them around. Such a sad conversation I had with him. Quickly admitting remission to the crack pipe after 2 years of sobriety, he also explained how lonely he is, how he's been through therapy, practices new age religions, and is in a dark place because of this addiction. How the crack addicts he's been hanging out with have stolen money and used him...
Yet, after a very brief argument about Jesus and the Bible, he got very upset and refused to talk about it. The tidbits of a Catholic-school upbringing and pentecostal grandmother and other tough points in life made it clear that he has some major issues and has probably been hurt by the church.
Despite his lack of attention to our bible study and interest in the transgender prostitutes down the street, at the end of the night, he thanked me for advice about someone and said he'd enjoyed himself. Now, we're a pretty cool bunch, I'm not gonna lie - but when one odd night with us seems to have the impact on someone like him that it does, it actually makes me sad. It wasn't like we were casting our demons or healing him or saw him give his life to God. It was a pretty normal evening. Just a teensy, tiny drop in the HUGE bucket that is life in Christ.
"Say no to drugs" is not a cute saying. It's for our own good. Just like God's laws. It's there to protect us. Ask any drug addict...it's not a pleasant place to be. It screws up lives. And it does a damn good job of numbing pain. But so does Jesus...and his body. That's why a simple night of listening to someone and giving them a hug has an impact. If only his anger wasn't in the way of all that is SO GOOD awaiting him in the Kingdom of God.
Two days later, a friend asked me to bring some food to their hotel room. A hotel known as being cheap (and equally NASTY), where many prostitutes and drug dealers stay. He wasn't there, but I dropped a bag of food off to a room where about 5 young men were sitting in the foul heat, prepping their wigs, smoking weed, sleeping, and, likely shocked to see a random white chick at their door with a bag of food.
It reminded me of those scenes in movies about crime, drugs, or sex trafficking where a bunch of skanky dudes are sitting around sniffing crack, with half-naked ladies walking around, smoke in the dark air and watchful of cops or anything that could get them in trouble. Granted, it wasn't that extreme, but that vibe oozed out of the barely-cracked door after I knocked on it.
Then I saw a guy I know from the street, and he came outside to say hi. We ended up talking in the parking lot for about an hour...about how he's tired of this life, how he wants a woman, wants to go to church, yet all of the reasons to keep living the dope-dealing life. We talked about the reason for forgiveness and how it's good for you, not just to pardon someone else. How he has so much more to give and do than deal drugs and rarely see his child. There's a part of him that knows he needs Jesus, but no part that's ready to surrender it all and really change.
The same thoughts ran through my mind, however. Jesus is not a hindrance to this life you're not even enjoying living. He sets you free and makes it all better! He hears your prayers when you're in relationship with him...not just when you're praying to get out of jail. Follow him because it makes things better! Not because I'm a religious fanatic who thinks you need to convert!
I probably shouldn't have been at that motel alone. I knew several people there, but it's the kind of joint where you would imagine someone getting shot. Which also makes it really fun to be the girl who SOO does not belong there, hanging out with the type of guy I would normally steer WAY clear of. And because I know God's with me, and when I thought I was just dropping off a bag of food, ended up in a long conversation with someone about the need for a healthy life and Jesus.
Don't shy away from telling people about Jesus. They need it. We all need Him. In the midst of some really depressing situations, I can still walk away knowing God is more powerful and reminded to keep spreading the Truth, because it will set people free from the chains of loneliness, addiction, and a life of hotel-room hoping between blow jobs and chemical highs. It's all a cover for the voids we all need filled.
I'll just end this with a clip of some spoken word I watched recently that preaches this beautifully: