4/29/10 Barry, about 35
I was riding bike home after our church softball team practice on a deserted street, after sunset. I came across a shabbily dressed man, muttering to himself angrily, suitcase in hand, limping. I was hoping to share the Gospel with someone but I hesitated, not really wanting to get involved in this man's problems, until I remembered how God doesn't want us to show favoritism to the rich or discriminate against the down and out (James 2:1-7 ) So I stopped to ask how he was doing. He looked at me suspiciously, wondering if I was an undercover cop, so I quickly told him I was from a church in the area and asked about his spiritual beliefs. This gave me a lot of credibility in his eyes and he opened up, telling me he had just gotten out of jail 2 days ago after being locked up for two years. He's very confused, moving from one relative to another. He's from a church family but said they are giving him tough love right now, and he isn't sure where he's at with God anymore. He's been in and out of jail ever since high school, mostly for armed robbery and theft, and believes God has spared him from harming himself or anyone else after running from the police, often in high speed chases. Yet he still believes God would judge him to be a good person who would go to heaven. Later he told me he doesn't think hell exists, because he doesn't think God would punish people like that, so I spent some time explaining his sinfulness and God's holiness and justice, but Barry continued to excuse and rationalize his sins and see himself as a victim rather than take responsibility for it.