After many years of searching for an old classmate from my school days, Facebook came to the rescue. I remember our conversation quite vividly; how can I forget? He recognized me, and was happy that I called. He also mentioned that he was unemployed because his previous boss wouldn’t allow him to speak his mind.
But the rest of the conversation was a complete blur. I couldn’t make sense out of what he was saying. There was no coherence between his words, as if remote sentences were pulled out from totally different conversations. But just to make sure he wasn’t drunk, I called a few more times during different hours of the day. Each time the response was similar to the first conversation.
It was like he was completely lost in his own world. I was standing on the outside looking in, unable to understand what’s going on inside, and unable to enter in. I spoke to several others who told me they had a similar experience, and could not connect with him. Obviously the problem is much beyond alcohol, and beyond the understanding or capability of his former classmates. Although I was happy for the new Facebook reunion, it was certainly a dead end.
While we were students, I remember him to be quite intellectual and with a great personality. He had all the possibilities for greatness. Since I was an average student, I appreciated his abilities in so many ways. I was just delighted that we had some level of friendship. Such people with a high level of ability were usually beyond my reach.
As a young teenager, I had shared the gospel with many people – young and old alike. In our mid teens, my brother and I and several friends found the opportunity to walk the streets of New York to share Jesus with people. We handed out literature, spoke personally with people, and even preached on the streets. Many laughed it off, and a few accepted. The rejections were numerous, but when some accepted Christ, those where some of the most joyful memories from my teenage years.
But how do I share Jesus with this person? Yes, he’s my friend, but he was also one of the most brilliant students in the school. Although I had shared with so many, this one was different. How would he respond? But I had to share it. As a friend, it was the best I could offer to my friend. But after I shared a few words with him, he just looked at me silently with a look of disgust. I had seen this look on the faces of many people, but not on him. Then he looked away and completely ignored me as if I never existed. I understood that to be a very clear message to keep my views to myself and to never bring it up again with him. And I never did bring it up. I felt quite small that day and the rejection was felt quite deep. Since he was a friend, I thought that the least he could do was to listen…but that was not an option.
Once while Job was experiencing the lowest point of his life, his friends came and visited him. Job was literally in the dumps while his friends were experiencing power and affluence. He was made to feel guilty without even any chance for innocence. At that point he said “From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:20 ESV) Each one of his friends had their answers. But Job had his own perspective: “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28 ESV)
There it is. The fear of the Lord. That’s what is needed. So, don’t be envious of others just because of their success. Keep your head up high. Those who fear the Lord are in a great place.
Would you tell us your experience of sharing the love of Jesus with others? Share it in the comments section of this blog post.