6/18/11 Andre, about 25
It was getting late in the evening and I hadn't met my daily goal of having a gospel conversation with someone, so I parked my car after running some errands and began to walk around a city block. Praying in advance for the person God would put in my path, I ran into a young man named Andre. He was waiting at a bus stop and I used a million dollar bill gospel tract to help initiate a conversation. Andre had grown up Baptist but has now adopted the universalist belief that all religions are the same. We talked about how they all teach that our good works will earn some sort of eternal reward - all except biblical Christianity - and Andre was reminded of the Gospel truths he had grown up with. I brought him through the good person questions based on the Ten Commandments, and Andre seemed to be in total agreement not only about his guilt in breaking them but about the just punishment he deserved. Several buses came and went, but Andre declined to board them, saying he felt God speaking through our conversation. For awhile he was in silent thought, and I believe he was "counting the cost" of repentance. "You don't know what I was about to do before you came to talk to me" he said and from other comments he made he may have been referring to drugs, sex, or even suicide. I really felt like he was broken and humble - a good place to be when dealing with ones rebellion against God's law and authority - but then he started a sort of personal pity party, blaming God, church people, and others for not responding to his kind and friendly actions with the same treatment in return. It was tempting to fall into the role of a counselor, explaining or making excuses for the supposed mistreatment by God or other believers, but I soon realized that Andre's self pity was based on the reward rather than the punishment he thought he deserves. I told him about the Gentile woman who asked for "the crumbs dropped from the children's table" as an example of someone who rightly knew she needed mercy, not a reward. (Mark 7:28) Eventually I drove Andre to his destination, leaving him with some important decisions to make as he counted the cost.