I was on a witnessing adventure today with Joe, a church brother, when we encountered a group of older teens who are very much indoctinated into the lifestyle and values of the Satan's Disciples, a well known Chicago street gang. They were willing to talk but distracted, with their habit of constantly scanning the street life going on all around us. I asked them simple questions like "What do you think comes next after we leave this earth?", "Do you believe you have a soul?", "What is eternity?", "Do you believe in God?". This was enough to stir up a good conversation and to convey simple truths like the fact that God does exist and will one day hold them accountable. They had heard of the idea of "judgment day", but associated it with the end of the world rather than personal accountability. They said with bravado that they will go to hell, more like its a badge of honor than something to be taken seriously, at least in front of one another. I felt like John the Baptist, preparing them for the Gospel by warning them of God's existence and the judgment to come. Jesus said that we shouldn't "throw our pearls to swine", and in this case I believe they weren't ready yet to appreciate the precious pearl that Jesus is.
On the other hand, a few days ago I spoke with Andrew, also clearly part of the same gang, except he was pushing a baby carriage. Andrew clearly believed he would go to hell, and it was no laughing matter to him. He doubted that God would forgive him for all he has done. But since the recent birth of his son, he has been trying to turn from gangbanging and has been visiting a few churches. He was very interested in talking about God, and wanted to hear about Jesus. He said ha hadn't heard it explained clearly before, and I believe he will need to keep hearing it before it sinks in. Please pray he does.