Sunday, October 15, 2006

My Hardcore Softball Friend

This story has been sitting in my Palm Pilot for a long time now.

Back in the spring I was playing softball for our church team and I met a new guy that had recently started coming to our Sunday services. Believe me, he was new to Christianity. His old life was pretty shady. We were thrilled to have him on our "team." Okay, truth is I was scared of him just a little. The dude is pretty big, tattooed, and missing some teeth.

After our games one night, we met at his truck and started talking music. I found out he was a big hip hop fan, so I introduced him to Toby Mac's "Diverse City." He pumped up the music in his truck. Pretty sweet sound system.

Then, he asked me if I am offended at cuss words. He wanted me to hear some songs by a rap artist he used to work for here in Phoenix.

Now, some would testify that my friend saw Jesus in me and felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit so he was compelled to ask me first. I say, maybe he was being polite and genuinely didn't want to offend me. Could it be?

Which brings me to my question: "Why are Christians always offended?"

I asked this question to a group of teenagers and one girl spoke up and said, "Because Pat Robertson tells them to be!" Wow.

Being offensive is obviously a stumbling block to relationship. But isn't taking offense a stumbling block too?

I looked at my hardcore softball friend and said, "It's okay. Let me hear your songs." So, he played the music and when the parts came up with cussing, he nervously laughed and talked over the swearing. I just smiled with him and said, "Hey now." We were both on the same team.

We have a great relationship to this day. I just enjoyed his beaming smile in a conversation this morning.


dorsey said...

Excellent post! I have always posited that taking offense is a far greater stumbling block than offering offense. Great point.

foot fetish said...

I agree!

Now, don't take offense, but I really want to show the world your beautiful feet!

Tim said...

Thanks for your testimony here. Gives me some good insights to think about. :-)

ruthrap said...

jimmybob, that's great that you listened to that guy's music! My son likes some real funky music and some it if really offensive...but maybe if I just attempt to listen to his he will listen to mine! He already knows of a Christian rap group I've never heard of, so I guess there's hope yet!!! Our differences tend to make for interesting relationships!
would be mighty boring if we all liked the same stuff!!!

xt4jfriend said...

I remember times when friends and I would make up human video moves or just go with the beat to some Toby Mac music. He has some really good messages in his songs.

Mike Jones said...

You showed him Christ by not letting the offensive words break fellowship. I wouldn't suggest buying that CD, but your actions showed him that you cared and that is what is most important.

JimmyBob said...

Exactly. Honestly, even though my friend was a little scary, I wanted to get to know him and he seemed interested in me. There aren't too many words I have already heard and it wasn't like he was trying to be offensive to me. Just the opposite.

About two months ago his mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and she was hospitalized. The doctors did all they could for her to make her comfortable. She was put on a breathing machine because her lungs were struggling to operate properly due to the pressures the cancer was causing.

The weekend I found out about this, someone in the congregation told me they were taking her off the machine and sending her home to die. I couldn't get a hold of my friend, so I called a mutual friend of ours and asked him what was going on. He said, "You haven't heard?" with a solemn face. "She died." I was distraught. Here was a new Christian and now his mom dies. This guy's gonna go back to his old life. You know the thoughts.

The next day I finally get a hold of my friend on his cell phone and I say to him, "I heard the news." That's all I say. His voice sounded stressed but he replied, "Yeah, they only gave her 2-3 days to live so we brought her home and now we have to put her in a hospice. She's headed there tonight." I was shocked! She was still alive. I'm glad I didn't say anything about her dying.

So, later that night I met him at the hospice where his mother was and they had her outside on the porch to breath fresh air. She was out of it. His sister was there and a few family members. My friend was the roughest looking of them all.

After visiting for awhile and hearing what the doctors said, that they should take her and let her breath her last breaths of fresh air instead of the oxygen tube, I realized they were preparing themselves for the inevitable.

His sister made it clear that she didn't want any visitors other than family, but she said I could be there to pray. Her mom's wishes were she didn't want anyone to see her that way.

So, we prayed together and asked God to make her comfortable and I asked to heal her body and do a miracle. I know my friend was asking the same thing. He was a big tough guy, but he looked like he loved his mom very much. In fact, shortly after giving his life to Christ he brought her to church with him on Mother's Day. That's the only other time I've seen her.

Well, that was two months ago and she has miraculously recovered. She's taken a vacation, she's home again, and she's breathing completely on her own. My friend is so happy. He has other stories of God's miracles and how God is taking care of him. It's truly amazing! You just want to be around him.

All this and I don't think he's broken those CD's yet! Imagine what will happen when he does [wink, wink].

ruzl said...

just keep being real, like u are mate - there's too many christians with too much crap, walking the planet. i figure the only thing we should be offended by is our having taking offense, especially when it comes to holy cows, swearing or whatever. you appreciate his smile, which is what Love does - sees the beauty, the good. right on! ruzl.