The Lord does not look atthe things man looks at. man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
I’m sure you have heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” right? We all have heard this countless times growing up. Probably to the point that we sometimes blow it off and forget to truly acknowledge the importance behind this old lesson.
It’s not that I don’t believe in that teaching. I do with all my heart. But ill be the first to admit I’m very easy to judge others by what they perceive to be on the outside. I don’t do it intentionally, but to some extent I think it’s almost second nature in certain circumstances.
Today I was blessed enough to cross paths with a man named Juan. I first saw him as I was driving around today. He was holding a sign on the corner of the road. The sign simply read “God Bless”. Juan wasn’t wearing a shirt, he had very long hair, tattoos and a Three foot long industrial size metal chain hanging from his shorts. I guess it depends on who you ask… but from the description, this man doesn’t sound like the type of person you just randomly approach. Honestly, I feel bad even saying that, but it’s the truth!
In my heart, and against my better judgment, God was telling me to go up to this stranger and try and talk with him about Jesus. I walked up and introduced myself, he seemed really nice from the quick introduction we had with one another. I asked if I could bring him some lunch from somewhere and hangout with him for a bit.
Do you remember when you were a kid, and you saw an 18 wheeler on the highway driving by. That motion you would sometimes make with your arm to get the driver to blow his horn? Well When I was driving off to grab us some food, I witnessed Juan give that signal to a “big rig” that was passing by. The driver laid on his horn witnessing that all happen made me chuckle. I remember thinking to myself “this guy either has a good sense of humor, or… is just plain nuts”! Haha.
I believe Juan said he was in his late 40’s or early 50’s. Before He started living on the streets, he was happily married and has two children with his ex wife. His wife Left him after twenty years of marriage. She packed up her things and was just gone one day. Juan said he had no idea she planned on leaving and was completely taken by surprise. Their kids were already out of the house by then and living on their own.
That and a couple of other unfortunate events left Juan without a place to live and so he was forced to stay on the streets. Before becoming homeless, Juan had already struggled with drug issues for years. Being on the streets and living that lifestyle IS NOT the place you want to be if you’re trying to get clean. So once he was there, the drugs became his priority and very easy to get. He has been living as a homeless man ever since.
Juan Was a character and we hit it off right from the start. We talked about the Bible and random life topics, different hobbies we enjoyed and music we listen to. Juan decided to try going to church around 8 years ago and has since accepted Jesus as his savior. We definitely disagreed on certain religious aspects and how God views things, but the fact that we were discussing the Bible was very refreshing for both of us. Juan knows that his current lifestyle is not appealing to God but he just hasn’t found the will power to let go of certain habits and truly let Christ rule over his life.
He was very grateful for the food and new Bible I was able to give him. He has a Facebook and we exchanged info so we can keep in touch when he has access to the internet. I definitely made a new friend today in Juan and I’m so grateful God had our paths cross. I know we both took away valuable information from the conversation we had.
Juan was very enthusiastic and said I should start a blog about helping others. Good idea, right? 😉 He was very open about the questions I asked him and said he was happy to share his story. He has nothing to hide from anyone. Juan is completely honest about his life and the choices he’s made. He takes responsibility for his decisions and puts blame on no one but himself.