By Matt Snyder
There are a lot of days that I eat my own words, that what I write and what I say comes back to haunt me. I talk about living lives of love, about being Jesus’ hands and feet to the world around me, basically I paint myself and some others as “super-Christians” that purposively proclaim our brokenness in an attempt to make ourselves appear more holy than what we really are. We serve the poor, crawl in the ditches, sell what we own, and will go anywhere and do anything for Jesus.
But I don’t.
I am full of some really good stories and they’re all true – don’t get me wrong. Unfortunately I think they’re stories that shed light on a more positive side of my existence. I want to be honest with all of you about myself. There are plenty of days that I don’t give up my coat. I turn the other direction and run. I choose disobedience to what God is calling me to do instead of embracing the love that has wrecked my life – love I shouldn’t resist others.
Long story short: I turned down Jesus. This happened the evening after I posted a blog calling out lazy Christians. I subconsciously lived out my fear of becoming what I’m most afraid of.
A friend and I pulled into a parking lot in downtown Wichita. As we were pulling in I noticed a homeless guy walking around the parking lot. I told her, “I bet this guy is going to harass us for money.”
I seriously couldn’t believe the words that came out of my mouth, but they expressed the true condition of my heart. We parked and the homeless man walked over to my side of the car and started talking to me before I even opened the door. I didn’t feel like loving anybody.
As I stepped out of the car he threw his arms around me and said, “give me a hug in the name of Jesus!” I gave him a hug. Honestly looking back on this I can say it’s the most sincere hug I’ve ever received from a stranger. I thought he would grope me and try to feel my pockets for money, but he didn’t. He let go and explained to me that he needed some money for a place to stay. The whole time he was explaining his condition, I was trying to figure out what he was strung out on – it was obviously something.
I told him that I didn’t have cash – a blatant lie. I had $15 in my back pocket and three cents in my front pocket. I always tell guys when I have money, I just tell them, “I don’t give out cash.” I’ll buy them what they need. He pleaded with me for money, to stop by an ATM. My heart grew cold. I thrusted the 3 cents into his hand and started naming off shelters. I worked at a homeless shelter and have homeless friends – I knew all the spots in town. I grew bitter. I got really frustrated with him and sent him to the Salvation Army. It was only a few blocks away.
Normally, I would have walked with this guy but I chose not to. I would have walked around with him until he found a place but I chose not to. I truly believe I turned down Jesus. And why did I not do this? Honestly – I was tired. I had a bad day. I didn’t feel like working’ for love. It would’ve taken everything I had in me. No thank you Jesus.
Then he disappeared into the night air. This guy – maybe an angel – went away without shelter, without money for food, without Jesus having held his hand. I just gave him a hug and resented every minute of it.
I still have a lot of growing to do. I have a lot of learning left in life. I’m not a superhero or an amazing Jesus-lover. I’m broken. I’m fallen. I fail everyday. But it makes me think of this: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12.11).
Failure stinks and reeks a horrible odor, but only if we let it. But so does humility. We choose what we gain from our mistakes. Mine sucks because, well, I turned down a man who I haven’t seen since. The Jesus screaming out of this man for love – I told him to “get.” How lame.
If you liked this article, check out: Punching People in the Face for Jesus
Matt graduated from Friends University in May. (Yes, it’s called Friends University, but they do not have a Central Perk…) He loves Jesus very much and is passionate about the Kingdom he seemed to talk about all the time. He likes cheesecake, chick-flicks, traveling, coffee, music, trying to write music, reading, and the outdoors. He still lives with his parents and eats their food.