Damaged Goods

In the mid-1990’s, I lived within walking distance of a Midwestern university. This proximity allowed me to interact with students in many unique ways.

One such happening occurred after I felt an urge to visit the LGBT campus group. Although I had never visited the group or even knew where it was, I figured it would be an exciting venture. So, to spice things up a notch or two, I wore my JESUS baseball cap.

The group’s office was located at the end of a hallway. The door was open and I walked in.

“Hi everyone, what’s happening,” I said to a group of seven or eight college students who had their backs turned away from the entrance.

They all rotated to look at me. Then, they noticed my cap and the discussions began.

“You’re a Christian, huh? Just what we needed on a Friday afternoon,” said a young woman, rolling her eyes.

“Do you believe homosexuality is a sin?” asked a muscular man who walked up  to me, his face just inches from mine.

“Yes, I do,” I said.

The man then recited a litany of verses which he believed proved that homosexuality was not a sin. I cut him off.

“Whoa! You can turn the Bible upside down, cut out verses, paste new ones in, and do whatever you want to do, but when all is said and done, homosexuality will still be a sin,” I said. “But then again, I have the same problem with my pride. God hates it and I love it. Yet, it’s still a stinking sin in His eyes.”

Then I added, “By the way, did anyone notice my sin of pride when I walked in here?”

“Yeah,” said a young man. “It certainly does stink.”

Everyone laughed and we introduced ourselves. The conversations proceeded here and there without focusing on anything in particular. The students were fun and likable to be around.

After a while, the group broke up, with some heading to classes and two going into another room for a closed-door meeting. Only one young man, named Sal, remained. As I stood there, wondering what would happen next, I had a quick vision of Sal.

“You’re a Christian, huh?” I asked.

“Well, I was,” he whispered. His dark eyes looked down at the floor.

“I just had a vision of you at a church with people laying hands on you and praying for you. One person prophesied that you were called to be a prophet. Is that true?”

“Yes, I attended a church with my mom and a person did prophesy that calling to me.”

“What are you going to do about your calling?” I asked.

Sal looked at me like I was the dumbest person on earth. “Hey man, I’ve committed an unpardonable sin. I’m a homosexual. My mama won’t even talk to me anymore.”

I smiled. “Sal, I have good news for you.”

Then, I proceeded to teach him about grace and how his salvation had nothing to do with his character, but rather on the finished work of the cross. In order for him to ever lose his eternal salvation, all of the works of the cross had to be reversed in Jesus, first of all, and then in him. In other words, it ain’t ever happening.

When I finished, Sal smiled. I shook his hand and left.

Over the years, I’ve wondered about Sal. Is he free of the homosexual lifestyle? Is he serving God? Has his relationship with his mom been restored?

I don’t have answers for these questions. All I have is a hope that the Lord who healed the lepers of His day would do the same today.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Damaged Goods

  1. I believe that this young man remembers you and that your words had an effect for the good. You planted the seeds; the Lord will bring it to fruition. Grace and peace, my brother.

  2. Larry Who . . God love you and what you do among us! God bless you and bring you more Sal’s. 🙂

  3. Derrick,

    Thanks. I certainly hope so.

  4. Debbie,

    Thanks.

    When I wrote this, I thought about how Jesus went to the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-9) and how He had to step over dozens of sick people before He spoke to just one man. And how that one man received words from Jesus which healed him, but all of the others, who also needed healing, did not receive words from Jesus.

  5. What a great story . . . I wonder how many people are touched by our witness–silent, or vocal. I think it’s great that you were brave enough to walk in there, and witness the way you did. I know from firsthand experience that our seeds, once planted, are indeed watered and harvested by our Great Lord.

    I (silently) led a stripper to Christ, unbeknownst to me; only to find out two years later. She sent me an e-mail saying that she needed to talk to me and had something very, very important news to share. When she called me, she was all excited to share her Good News. I cried into the phone like a baby . . . and my heart leapt with joy! This is only one story of my life’s experiences.

    I would be willing to bet that Sal digested your words, cherished your heart, and appreciated your love for the Lord–by and through your bravery, boldness, courage, and witness . . . he’s out there somewhere, and I can only guess he thinks of you from time-to-time, possibly even wondering where you’re at, so he can share his good news with you! Amen.

  6. gshow,

    Thanks for your testimony with the stripper.

    As far as bravery goes, I’ve learned over the years that the boldness of the Lord and the Lord’s grace to carry out an assignment is always on the other side of the door. Walking through the hallway to the door on that day, I was just like every other Christian. I wanted to be anywhere else, and especially not there. My mind thought of every possible thing which could happen, none of which were pleasant.

    But once I walked through the doorway, all fear left and I felt like an ambassador of the King.

    Maybe I will write on this sometime in the future.

  7. Nicely said, Larry. Love how your twist on pride/personal sin in your initial meeting helped open the door to conversation. God does amazing things when we humbly admit our own weaknesses, can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Him work in this way.

    Anna

  8. Gracie was sharing this wonderful post with me and I had to let you know that I thank God for real men like you who can step up and share the Gospel and the love of Christ even in the most different places and circumstances…. There are many souls that need the Masters touch.. you are a blessing indeed …Darrell

  9. Anna,

    “… can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Him work in this way…”

    Thanks. This one sentence blesses me because my reason for writing this article was to inspire every believer that they could be used by the Lord in the same way. All you have to have is a “go” mentality and a desire to allow the Lord to move through you.

    I am nothing special. Just a believer who loves the Lord and spends time in prayer.

  10. Darrell,

    Thanks. It took me a while to figure out gshow is your wife. God bless the both of you.

  11. Oh man…what a powerful story. If only all of us could share “prophetic truth” with such mercy and love.

    You spoke truth, but you did it as I imagine Christ would have (thinking of the adulteress & stones story here)….really, this is one of the most powerful stories I’ve read in ages.

  12. New View From Here,

    Thanks. I appreciate your encouraging words.

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