As I was lying in bed tonight unable to sleep, I thought about an incident that happened to me a couple of years ago. I was on my way home from the store and as I drove up to an intersection I noticed a young man (younger than me) sitting on the corner. He had long dreadlocked hair, a full beard and very “hippieish” clothing. He was holding a cardboard sign stating that he was traveling and hungry. When I got to where he was, I rolled down my window and told him to meet me at the Culver’s restaurant across the street and I would buy him a meal. I pulled into the parking lot and he arrived momentarily. I introduced myself and he reciprocated and then we proceeded into the restaurant. As we talked, he told me about the lifestyle he led and how he has traveled across the country many times. I don’t remember where he was on his way from, although Alaska seems to come to mind. I do remember that he was on his way to Florida to stay with some friends down there. I think the impending winter had a lot to do with that. The funny thing is, he wasn’t even positive that his friends would still be there since he had had no contact with them since the prior year when he had stayed with them. It really didn’t seem to concern him though. He seemed very passionate about this lifestyle of having no ties to society, no responsibilities, come and go with the wind. Completely and utterly free. As he spoke, I found myself starting to envy his lifestyle when it dawned on me; this lifestyle was not free at all! If it were not for me, a person tied to society with responsibilities, he would be hungry today. It didn’t take me long to go from envy to concluding that this guy was a moron! It blew me away that he could not see (or chose not to see) the contradiction in his way of life. His freedom was completely dependent upon a lifestyle he was trying to avoid. We soon parted company and I wished him all the best and told him I hoped everything worked out for him. He assured me it would, and in my superiority, I thought to myself, “I’m sure it will too, as long as there is another member of society like me around the corner to foot the bill”. I went home feeling pretty smug and told my wife about the whole incident.
So here I am tonight, thinking about this 2 year old memory when it hits me. It took two years, but I should have seen it coming. It happens every time I climb up on my high horse. I soon find myself laying face down on the ground. You see, I too live a life of freedom at the cost of another individual. The Bible says in 1Co 1:8 He (Jesus) will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, if you are reading this and you know me, then you know that Pat and blameless are two words rarely used in a sentence together. The Bible also tells us, The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:8-12)
I sit here today with freed from my transgressions and able to stand blameless before God. Not because of anything I have done, but because of what Jesus did. I live a life of freedom because Jesus chose to leave Heaven and bind himself physically to this earth so He could unbind me from it. This event has caused me to look at the following verse much differently.
And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.(Mat 5:40-42)
I believe Jesus wants us to have confidence and joy in our own freedom. I also believe he wants us to do whatever it takes to free our brothers and sisters. So as I look at my feet and once again see the shoes of one I have judged, wherever you are tonight my wandering friend, I hope you are well fed and free.