2/9/14 Marcus and Skull Guy about 40, 30
I was shopping at Walmart and decided to take a little time to reach out to some fellow shoppers, and would like to compare two reactions. First, there was Marcus, whom I found browsing through the DVD section. He seemed like he had time to talk, so I used a “million dollar” gospel tract as a humorous conversation starter about a serious subject – “Will you go to heaven?” Marcus had no problem talking about this, telling how a truck driver at his job talks about it all the time and how he tries to spread goodwill also, hoping he’s doing enough to be pleasing to God. This led to my simple explanation of how we are saved by grace, not by works, which Marcus took as a friendly reminder and thanked me for it. Other people were appreciative too, but not the guy standing outside with multiple skull and crossbones insignia's on his leather jacket and tattooed on his hands and neck. “Get outta my face” he basically growled when he found out why I had come over to talk to him on my way out. As I left I fell into my old worry – “Have I just turned that guy off to God forever?” But I don’t believe that anymore, which for years was one of my main excuses not to reach out to share my faith. The Gospel itself is offensive. Paul calls it “the offense of the cross” in Galatians 5, I think because it implies that our sinfulness is so horrible that only the death of God’s own Son on the cross could remove our guilt. I don’t need to add to the offense of the Gospel with offensive behavior of my own, but I have talked to enough people - the vast majority – who are not offended by my approach. I suspect, though I might be a convenient scapegoat for the skull guy, that it wasn't really my offense but the offense of the Gospel that had turned him against me. Or maybe he was just having a bad day.