Grace and Trust in a Fallen World
Last night, my wife Kolby and I went out to eat on Bardstown Road, an area here in Louisville that is packed with restaurants. After driving up and down the street for a while, we parked the car and were about to walk into a restaurant when a homeless man named Rick came up and asked for some money to buy dinner. Rick had his heart set on getting some KFC in his belly before he returned to Wayside, the local Christian homeless shelter.
This new situation presented several dilemmas.
1) I hate handing money to people on the streets. I will gladly buy someone a meal, but I’m not giving out money for someone to go buy booze.
2) I also don’t like the idea of pulling my wallet out, especially knowing that I had a good bit of cash and credit cards inside.
3) Rick is a big dude. He had me in height by 4-5 inches and in weight by 20 lbs, and Kolby is half his size.
I found myself asking, ‘What should be my priorities in this situation?’ And the answer I came to was simple: Love. My first priority was to show Rick the love of Christ, but how? As one who believes in the gospel and seeks to live in light of the new creation and restoration that happens in Christ, I want to break down the walls of hostility and distrust put in place by the fall. Recognizing that we live in a world deeply marred by the fall, I wanted to treat Rick in a way that communicated the sort of trust that is impossible in our fallen state. My instincts said ‘Beware!’ but my heart longed to trust this stranger. I wanted to communicate the gospel’s ability to overcome our shame and distrust of one another.
After walking to KFC and discovering it was closed, we tried to get Rick to join us for a meal somewhere else. But it was KFC or bust for him, so I finally gave him some cash out of my wallet to go to the other KFC downtown. I don’t know if he did or not. But Kolby and I had a great conversation afterwards about our hearts, the gospel, and learning to love people even when it’s messy and you could get hurt. The reality is, we do live in a broken world, but we are hopeful for its redemption, because we have a savior who loved us, even when it cost him his throne in heaven and his life on earth. Let’s live and love in light of this wondrous gospel, in spite of the cost.