So I once again yesterday forgot to take tracts with me when I went to Dunkin Donuts to use their WiFi. As I was getting ready to leave, I saw a young man and a young woman smoking at the side of the parking lot. I was going to pass them anyway, so I was kicking myself for not bringing tracts to hand to them. Of course, the Lord reminded me that I don't need tracts, but I was hesitant because they were talking (actually, gossiping). But I greeted them anyway. They paused long enough for me to ask if they had ever taken the Good Person Test. And now they were hooked.
I focused mainly on the young man, because I didn't want either of them to think I was trying to flirt with the young woman.
"Question number one: have you ever told a lie?"
"Yes, of course."
"What does that make you if you tell a lie?"
"A liar?" A bit of laughter.
"Yes, a liar. Question number two: have you ever stolen anything?"
"What does that make you if you steal?"
"No--" she says, "A thief," and he concurs--"thief is right, because Steelers are from Pittsburgh."
[Quizzical look followed by] "Oh!" and a smirk.
"Question number three: have you ever hated anybody?"
"Have you ever cursed at someone or called them mean names?"
"Is that treating them with love?"
"The opposite of love is...?"
"So, what does it make you if you hate somebody?"
She says, "A hater!"
"No, that's the ghetto answer." Both laugh.
"I don't know."
"A murderer? No, no." A friend for whom they were apparently waiting walks up, a young woman.
"But the issue is not how much harm we do to the other person. It's how angry God will be for taking His air and using it to mistreat our fellow man. That's why 1 John chapter three verse 15 says, 'Whoever hates his brother is a murderer...'"
"So I'm not a good person then?"
"Well, you just told me that you are a liar, a thief, and a murderer by God's Standard."
"Do you think God will find you innocent or guilty of breaking His Law?"
"And what does God do with guilty people on Judgment Day?"
"Sends them to Hell!"
"So what does that say for you?"
"I'm going to Hell!!" First girl interjects--or tries to--but he shuts her down. "I am going to Hell, and there is nothing you can say or do about it!"
[I compose myself from the shock] "Do you like that idea?"
"Good! Because God does not like it either. Do you know what God did for you so you don't have to go to Hell?"
"He sent Jesus to die for your sins."
"So that means I need to pray?"
"And ask God to forgive you and to cleanse your heart from sin."
"But I do pray and ask for forgiveness."
"Have you ever asked Him to do it because of what Jesus did on the cross?"
"No, but I will now!!"
Pray that his friends don't dissuade him but are convinced by Scripture and the Holy Spirit to do so with him.
Later, I handed someone a tract while waiting for the bus. She turned out to be a proud older woman who gladly told me that she had never murdered anyone or committed adultery, so she was sure that she was going to Heaven. Well, she does have the problem of having broken the other eight Commandments, but she was sure that those were little things, and that they didn't pose a problem. When I insisted that she needed Jesus to wipe her slate completely clean because only perfection could enter Heaven, she told me that she didn't believe in Jesus.
"Well, that's why you're on your way to Hell."
"I don't believe in Hell."
I thought of a bumper sticker that someone had shared with me a few years ago: "Still don't believe in Hell? Well, it's still there, and YOU'RE STILL GOING!!" I thought that it had too much a rejoicing-in-another's-calamity tone to it, but I guess it doesn't really matter if you are dealing with hard heart that doesn't respond to truth spoken in gentle tones (yes, I do know how to do that...sometimes).
On my way back home, I handed a tract to a young lady boarding the bus, and, after she had read it and put it in her pocket, I asked, "Headed to work?"
"Nope, headed home! I finished my work already."
"Who was that waiting with you at the bus stop?"
"Oh, that was Crystal. She used to be my girlfriend."
I hesitated. I did not want to ask this question. I was expecting her to say that that was her brother. Except that, as she had turned away, I saw some womanly features, and I was rather confused. So I ended up asking the question anyway: "Is she a lesbian?" Affirmed. "Are you one?" Yep. Lord, why? I know I'm equipped to handle this conversation, but I'd rather not.
"You read that fourth commandment on that list, right?" Nods "So you know it applies to you, right?" Nods again. Oh boy.
Mark Cahill did a video called Pride Goes Before Destruction chronicling his interactions with people at Atlanta's Pride Fest a few years back. I relied on the lessons learned from that dvd for the questions that followed.
"So when did you become a homosexual?" (A young lady named Destiny had told me at Panera Bread that her father had been suppressing homosexual desires from birth. I told her that professionals had finally admitted that there was no scientific evidence for inborn homosexual desire, and she was surprised. Now I was talking to one, and I wish she could have been a fly on the wall. Oh well. Maybe I'll forward this to her email.)
"Well, I had been having desires since I was nine, but I didn't do anything about it until 10th grade." And she gave a summary.
"Why did you wait so long to act on your desire?" I actually don't remember her response.
"Where you ever abused?"
"Yes, by my father, when I was nine." Bingo! The bus had stopped at Park Place Mall, so we got off so she could smoke a cigarrette (yeah, I know, but I had bigger fish to fry at the moment). "Why do you ask?"
"Most people who choose the homosexual lifestyle have been abused. ... Women need love, men look for respect [I had refreshed myself with a look at the Workbook from the Love and Respect Conference back in February]...men have to learn to love. If a woman doesn't receive love for a man, she says, 'Well, I know where I can find love'--in a woman--and she goes that route." Sarah was nodding fervently. "But that's not God's design. I cannot ever justify what your father did to you, and I will never try. But your response is not right."
She asked me some questions about judging and condemnation. I was able to show her that 1) I don't make the rules, 2) I've broken the rules myself, 3) all of us deserve Hell, and 4) if I didn't warn her about the end of the road she was on, I would have to answer to God. Then I asked her, "Have you ever told a lie?"
"Oh, yes, many times."
"Well, the first time you told a lie, you were in a lot more trouble than being a lesbian will ever get you into. The Bible condemns lying in many more places than it does homosexuality. Have you ever stolen anything?"
She laughed, "When I was a kid, I stole a pack of gum."
I could see that. "When I was a kid, my mom told me that I couldn't have some candy, I waited until she wasn't looking, and I took it anyway. And the Book of Proverbs is full of God's commandments not to use false weights and false balances to cheat people and steal their money. But it speaks very little on homosexuality, even though it still is an abomination."
It was time to board the bus again. "Everyone has their favorite sin, but Jesus wants to take it all away from us. My favorite sin may be different from yours. It could be pornography [which I have struggled with before], it could be lying. In fact, when I was a kid, lying was indeed my biggest sin. But God made me give it up. He told me plainly, 'I can't use you if you hold onto that,' and it's true for any sin. So don't feel like I'm picking on you!" She didn't.
Finally, I told her that she was the lost sheep in Jesus' parable. Turns out that I had missed the bus before by a only a few minutes, and she had missed the same bus by only one minute. Guaranteed that bus was more crowded, considering the time of the day, and I just left it in the Lord's hands when I realized that I had missed it (I didn't have a schedule with me, but, if a bus doesn't come in five to ten minute, you can be sure that you just missed the last one).
Her name was Sarah, her ex "girlfriend's" name is Crystal, her current gf is Elizabeth, and Crystal's current gf is also named Elizabeth. I did tell her that all of them would be on my prayer list. And now they are on yours, too. Thanks for praying.