Friday, July 18, 2008

Word on the Street #12

A lot changed last week when a handicapped guy came rolling through the doors of Lighthouse to get a free meal. I had just finished washing dishes after the normal lunch served to the homeless and I walked out in the main room to find one of the program guys feeding this guy. I took over because this program guy needed to do something else and we launched into a long talk. What a difficult situation! This man was and is facing homelessness and I immediately wanted to do something about it. I didn't realize how close our contact would be for at least the next few days. He needs help with about everything. I saw him again the next day where he discovered my life on the streets and invited me to stay at the motel where he was staying for a night. I graciously accepted and went back to Wilmore for the Sunday like usual.

On Tuesday, he faced the prospect of homelessness and I cared for him much of the day. At supper, God deposited the thought into my head of 2 ladies I knew and I immediately decided to see if they'd take him in for a few days. It certainly was divine appointment! Because one lady had similar handicaps to my friend, they were able to relate to him and provide for him. One even gave up her bed for him. They've proven to be an excellent temporary solution.

In the course of our time, we had an interesting discussion about God and how He desires to heal us. My friend at this point announced that he didn't want to be healed because he believes God made him special and the way he is for a reason. It seems like he fights with feeling valuable or something and instead of being content with where God has him and also believing that God can heal and restore him, he instead embraces his condition to the other extreme, taking pride in it. Unfortunately, what I wanted to communicate to him in a loving way didn't come out right and he thought that I called his condition "sin" thereby making him a sinner simply for being born with a handicap.

Here's some of the dynamics which I saw: I think we both have different definitions of sin. I'm talking about the force of evil released on earth through the Curse and I think he's thinking of individual actions against God's law. I also think he was making an emotional argument while I was making an objective one. I spoke truth, but I probably didn't speak it wisely. If my friend is offended by truth, fine, but I don't want to cause unnecessary offense based on my faulty articulation of truth. I guess the best way to understand is this: God loves my friend as he is, just as He embraces all sinners when we put our faith in Christ. He does use my friend's condition to humble all of us. If my friend loves God, God uses his condition for good. He should be content in God even in the midst of his condition. Here's the other side. None of the above is possible with his current attitude. He thinks his condition is a good thing. No, God's using it for good, but in and of itself, it's a bad thing. God desires to restore and completely heal too. It was an interesting conversation.

Please pray for my friend, his thinking, his physical healing, and most of all his salvation through Jesus Christ. It's hard to tell if he truly has the life of God's Spirit pulsating in him. I think he's similar to many that I've met: they have aligned their mind with an idea and agreed with it, but they have not had the indwelling living reality of God coming in and foundating their entire existence. Pray also that we can see around my friend's double-talk (he's not been completely honest with us) and get him the help he needs.

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