Ephesians 1:17-19 (Amplified Bible) “[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones).”
Years ago, when I was in school studying for the ministry, I was privileged to teach a short course on street evangelism and home visitation. One of the five key principles of this teaching was, “If you’ve been where they are, tell them that you’ve been there and have experienced the same thing.” In our effort to reach people with the truth of God’s Word, we must not hesitate to tell them the truth of our lives as well. I’ve heard it said that every saint has a past; however, every sinner has a future. Too often we forget that God hates sin, but loves the sinner and we seldom admit that we had the same problem as the person to whom we’re witnessing. We need to be open and honest, especially if we’ve been set free from the bondage that person is experiencing.
Many of us have a fear of rejection, especially to admit to the drug addict that we were also once in bondage to drugs. This is the point where unjust judgment is birthed and we attack what they’re doing instead of relating to them with a compassionate heart. I thank God that He saw fit early in my Christian infancy to allow me to experience a life-lesson about seeing past someone’s sin and seeing God’s love for that sinner.
I had been born-again about 3 months when I started attending a friend’s church. My friend didn’t shared with me that the pastor was physically blind loosing his sight from a fall when he was 6-years-old. Pursuing his education, he attended a noted school for the blind and excelled in almost everything he endeavored, especially people’s hearts. Because of his commitment and compassion, he was asked to visit one of the Elder’s brother and sister-in-law, who were alcoholics and needed Jesus in their lives before it was too late.
I hope I will never forget that night of visitation when I drove Pastor Ray Speakman to the couple’s home—down an old muddy road, stopping in front of a dilapidated shack where mounds of trash was thrown from the house and laying next to the front door. There were at least 5 or 6 junk cars in the yard and several old dogs barking loudly. The real shocker came after we knocked on the door and it was open by our elder’s brother. He was standing there or rather staggering there with a bottle of Vodka in his hand wearing the filthiest clothes I’d ever seen. Ray told him that his brother had asked us to come by for a short visit. The man asked us in and I had to lead Ray around the piles of beers cans and empty liquor bottles on the floor. We sat down at the kitchen table and I watched as the man poured his wife a glass of Vodka while he kept drinking out of the bottle.
I’d been where he was, so I was going to straighten him out about the evils of alcohol–all I could see was the sin and I hated it. I failed to see the sinner that God loved and Jesus had died for. However, it was a divine appointment time for 3 people that night—that husband, his wife and me. Pastor Ray began to share Jesus with them and the anointing was so strong that I began to weep along with those pitiful looking alcoholics as tears rolled down their cheeks. The next thing I knew, we were all on our knees, praying and asking for God’s mercy and forgiveness. When we got to our feet, the man walked to the sink and poured his alcohol down the drain; he thanked us for coming, for praying and for introducing them to Jesus. He assured us they would be in church the very next service.
As we drove away from their home, Pastor Ray asked me if it was just him or had I smelled alcohol in their house. That was when I realized I was really the one that had been blind that night, blind because I only saw with my natural eyes, while Pastor Ray saw with “the eyes of his heart.” I didn’t want to lie to him, so I told him the only thing that matters is that they are new creatures in Christ.
It’s been years ago, but the last I heard about that couple was that he was a deacon and his wife was teaching children’s church, because a blind preacher saw that couple through the eyes of God.