A Homeless Man Called Me

His Entire World...Homeless man and his best f...

His Entire World…Homeless man and his best friend, Brandy the dog (Photo credit: Beverly & Pack)

In most neighborhoods homeless people come and go, but in my community we lack the public transportation that would bring them into our area. Yet on this one particular day, Steve plopped down on a leather chair in the local coffee shop and we became acquainted. It turned out that he knew my neighborhood since he was raised there 24 years earlier. At that time his parents moved to Ohio and Steve decided in his early 20’s to pack his backpack and take to the streets.

After my first conversation with Steve, I prayed for him to get the help that he needed and hoped he would go downtown to the San Diego Rescue Mission to enroll in a rehab program. Instead, a year later I recognized Steve sitting on a bench in front of the same coffee shop. He looked discouraged until I remembered his name. I sat next to him and took an interest in what had happened in his life over the past year, hoping he got the help he needed.

At first, I was disappointed to find out that Steve did not take my advice to go to the Rescue Mission. After a few minutes of catching up, I prayed for him again and gave him my Faith Coach bookmark with 7 promises from God.

Since then I have not had the opportunity to see Steve, but he called me recently on my cell phone. Enthusiastically, he began to share how God was using him to encourage other homeless men to have a relationship with Jesus.

Although Steve struggled to give up his beer, he was across the country sharing the love of Jesus with the people he met on the streets. He thanked me for taking the time to encourage him in his faith, to pray for him, and give him the bookmark with God’s promises to cling to. Concerned about his testimony to others, I reminded Steve that he was an ambassador for Christ and to be a godly example to those he ministered to. He assured me that he was and I prayed for him.

After I hung up the phone, God convicted me that Steve’s walk with Jesus looked different from mine.  Initially I judged him, frustrated that he never got the help that he needed to get off alcohol. But then I came to understand that although he enjoyed his beer, God could still use Steve. I was only responsible for speaking truth in love, encouraging him in his walk, and praying for him to know and be the love of Jesus. The rest was up to God.

I rejoice that Steve would call me to encourage me to keep on doing what I’m doing.

I’m not to judge or condemn. With a different set of circumstances, I could easily have gone down that same path or worse. It is by the grace of God that we are chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless, adopted as His children, and forgiven by His blood poured out for me on Calvary.

I have discovered that with a heart of condemnation, God may test your heart by allowing a situation to bring you to a place of humility. In Luke 6:37 Jesus warns,

“Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Judgment is looking down on someone and thinking you could never be that way, thinking that you’re better. We are all capable of bad behavior. All sin is wrong in the sight of God and separates us from Him and the people placed in our lives. We must examine our motives, attitudes, and thoughts to get to the root of our critical judgments. When we approach a situation with empathy not criticism, we are less likely to judge.

What are your thoughts? Are you judging someone by thinking you’re better? How is God working in your life?

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