10/8/10 Juan 82
An older man (Juan) at the park refused to take the million dollar bill gospel tract I offered him and treated me with suspicion and indifference at first, so I put aside sharing my faith and just talked with him to practice speaking Spanish. I learned a lot about his past, having moved from Mexico fifty years ago to work on a ranch in Texas and ending up in Chicago. Eventually, he did begin to trust me so I began to ask about spiritual things. Juan drifted away from his Catholic background into alcohol and, having never married, wasn't ashamed to say he had used the services of prostitutes his whole life. He feels that paying them makes it okay. Fifteen years ago he had hit bottom with his alcohol use and became suicidal. He went to a Catholic church and was counseled by a priest there who blessed him and annointed him with oil. This was so meaningful to Juan that he was able to turn away from alcohol (not completely) and now says he believes in God (though he knew nothing of Jesus). He thinks God would judge him to be a good person compared to others and really had no further interest in spiritual things. I shared the gospel as best as I could, but he seemed to only hear what he wanted. Did the priest help him with hope right when he needed it, or hurt him with false assurance of salvation that has inoculated him against the Gospel?