June: Lead With Love

"You need to give people something to believe in, because without belief there's just a great big hole to fill."

Yesterday, I saw Diavolo (Italian for Devil) walking out of the mission. In an act of obedience to our loving Heavenly Father, I followed him out the door. A couple weeks ago, we had a power struggle at the door and I let all the rumours of him being a relentlessly violent thug and a dealer effect the way I treated him. I knew I owed him an apology. “Diavolo,” I called to him as he walked through the parking lot. “WHAT?” he said, but he would not turn or stop. I caught up to him, put my arm around him and apologized. He stopped and pulled his shoulder away from my hands and said, “Yah, Yah. Ok.” Apparently, still angry. “No, I need to explain why I am apologizing.” He started to look at me now so I continued, “I let rumours of you being an evil thug and a dealer effect the way I treated you and it was wrong. I placed judgment before love and I am sorry.” His response surprised me as he said, “I am not those things. I may deal drugs and beat people up, but that is not me. I am a hard working man who once had a house and a truck. The truck I drove here on a snowy November 21st four years ago and spent my first homeless night at SUMS.” I asked him his real name. “Matthew,” he said. “After the saint. Out here I am a devil, but my name says I am a saint.” We talked for a while about judgmental Christians, the existence of God and the need to believe. He guided the conversation and I went along for the ride. As our moment together was drawing to a close, he said, “You need to give people something to believe in because, without belief, then there is just a great big hole to fill”. And with a fist pound, he was off. Thank you Matthew. That is what we will do.

"Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless-cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help." 1 Peter 4:7-11 MSG

Written by Mike Musgrove