6/28/10 Gino, 28 and two friends, both about 20
Driving down the street I noticed three guys, dressed for the streets, hanging out on some front steps so I drove around the block, parked my car and got out to talk with them. I parked far enough away to allow time for prayer and as I got up to them I showed them my "million dollar bill" gospel tracts and started a light hearted conversation about what the million dollar question might be. I talked mainly with Gino, who said he believes he will go to heaven "because I've turned my life around". He had a near death experience at age 20, and while in a coma dreamed that he faced God's judgment and was sentenced to hell. When he woke up he described changes that sounded like the Jimmy Stewart movie "It's a Wonderful Life". He began to believe in God and tried to follow Him, yet I could tell it was on Gino's terms, not God's. He ended up in jail two years ago and recalled reading his Bible in solitary confinement; now he feels God forgives his sins whenever he asks. I believe, as C.S.Lewis states, that "a person can't know how bad they are until they try to be good", and I felt like exposure to the Ten Commandments is exactly what Gino needs to see that he still falls short of God's standard. I began by asking if he knew the Ten Commandments - he only knew two - and I said "How can you say you are serious about being good if you haven't even taken the time to learn what God's commandments are? Then I started to go through some of them. When I asked about murder it turned out that Gino has indeed murdered people, which he claimed was in self-defense and that it had been dealt with by the police. After several commandments he and his two friends suddenly decided to leave claiming they had to meet someone. I don't know if this was true or if I was hitting a little close to home, but I hope that God's word - even His words of warning, will do the work it is intended to do.