Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dirty Robert

The other day I saw a homeless man lying on the sidewalk. I didn’t stop to give him any money because I thought he might be insane. He sure looked it. Besides, he would probably use it for buying alcohol or cigarettes. But I began to think about my thoughts. Were they just excuses? How horrible if the man was insane. Imagine, being tormented by a sick mind. I concluded that he may have needed money more than a sane person.

I went back, and as I approached him his eyes flashed at me. His skin was ingrained with grime. He smelled like a filthy public restroom. I said, "Excuse me sir. Are you okay? I would like to give you $20." He reached out his grimy hand, took the money and without saying a word, he waved his hand in a gesture of appreciation. As I walked away I thought that my $20 was pretty pathetic. So I returned and gave him some more. As I walked away a second time, two men who had been watching me from across the street called out "Take him to a park!" They didn’t want him living opposite their house. Sadly, I could understand their point of view.

I got up very early the next morning and rode my bike back towards the same spot. I had an agenda. I would offer to give the man a nice hot shower. While he was showering, I would go to a store and buy him some nice clean clothes. Then, we would go to the local barbershop and give him a haircut and shave. Then I would prepay for a room in a hotel for a week. From there we would go to a place I knew of that sold chickens, rabbits, and grain and ask if they would give him a job, if I gave them his first week's wages. I was excited when I turned the corner and saw that he was still on the sidewalk.

I approached him, squatted beside him and reminded him of our encounter the night before. He remembered me, and said that his name was Robert, and that he was 60 years old. I was pleased to find that he was coherent, but his speech was strangely quiet and deliberate.

I asked if he would like to get cleaned up, get a job, and have a roof over his head. I would pay for everything. Think of it--clean clothes, a job, and a warm room in a hotel. Robert went very quiet for a long time. I repeated my offer. He mumbled, "I’m thinking . . . " A moment later, he shook his head.

It turned out that he didn’t mind his filth, that he got a pension from the government, and he got his clothes from a goodwill store (many years ago, by the look and smell of them). I then shared the gospel with him, and left him on the sidewalk.

I was so disappointed. How sad that a human being chose to live like that, sitting in his own filth. He was so used it. I guess it seemed to be right and normal for him to do so.

The unbeliever is the same as Robert. He is like the prodigal Son (see Luke 15:11-32), as he sits in the filth of his sins thinking that his unclean desires are normal and right. Yet through the gospel God offers to wash him clean of his sins, give him a purpose in existence, and put and eternal roof over his head. Yet he chooses death over life, darkness over light, Hell over Heaven, all because he loves his sin and hates righteousness. What an unspeakable tragedy.