I spent the morning driving around in short city blocks near a church where we’ve ministered in Nicaragua in the past. Pastor Juan had arranged for me to use our rental truck to pick up local men who were struggling with addictions. (Abusing alcohol and sniffing glue-like substances is rampant here.) But…
I wore the wrong clothes today.
I THOUGHT I was going to meet with the mayors of Diriamba and Masaya. This had to be rescheduled, but I had dressed for it. I wore a blue, long-sleeved, button-up shirt and navy blue slacks. Normally this would not have been an issue, but… it’s the basic attire of the local police department here! We were trying to treat these men to a free meal and a message of hope, but instead, I intimidated them!
One man did not want to ride in the bed of the truck because he believed he was being arrested. He opted to ride in the cab so he could hide from his friends. Once we pulled up in front of the church and demonstrated that we, in fact, were NOT the police, he became our biggest advocate – inviting and encouraging others in the community to join us. This community was literally filled with these men. We would drive only a few feet down the street before encountering another person who was inebriated in some way.
At first, I was a bit nervous. The men were obnoxious and rude as I introduced myself and the church I was working with. Some called me a lunatic while others rambled on about some hallucination they were seeing at the moment. At one point, a small fight began to arise among them and for a moment I was worried that I would be mauled. But I noticed that Pastor Juan was cool and collected and was mouthing a prayer. Soon, the situation was calmed and the men took the time to listen to what I had to say. I told them that most people are co-dependent; they believe in Jesus Christ, in His death and resurrection, but they also trust in their behavior for forgiveness. While these men had a physical co-dependency, most of the world has a spiritual co-dependency. I reminded them that their behavior would not keep them from heaven; neither would they gain heaven by changing their behavior. Only by changing their mind about who Jesus is and what He has done, and trusting in Him alone for salvation, would they have the guarantee of eternal life with Christ.
These men softened up and began to sing praise and worship songs that they had heard on the radio and from church speakers blasting the songs into the community. They agreed to pray with me when I invited them to trust in Christ alone. I told them I couldn’t promise them a better life now, but that I COULD promise (because Jesus promised) eternal life! They prayed aloud as I gave instruction on putting their trust in Jesus alone!
How about you? Are you spiritually co-dependent? Do you believe in the person of Jesus Christ as a real person, but NOT as the only Savior? I invite you to put your trust only in Jesus’ death and resurrection. He paid the price for sin with His death and promises eternal life with His resurrection. If you haven’t yet done so, place your trust in Jesus Christ only – today!