He sat in the corner of the coffee shop. Alone and out of place. The young man’s clothes hung like rags on his skinny frame. He lapped up his tea like an animal. And he smelled… awful.
David sat down next to him, and they began to talk.
David learned that the young man had grown up on the streets as an orphan and was only recently released from jail. He was quite hostile and belligerent. David prayed silently, “Lord, I really want to love this man, but I don’t have it in me. Please help me.”
Suddenly, the man began to cry and the angry façade crumbled. David wasn’t sure what to do. The young man looked up at David and said through his tears, “I want to pray with you so I can become a Christian.” Together they bowed their heads and the young man asked Jesus to forgive his sins and be His Lord and Savior.
Then David pulled off his own thick, warm sweater, folded it, and presented it as a gift, saying, “I’m giving this to you in the name of Jesus. I want to know that God loves you, and so do I.”
The young man beamed. Then he pulled off his tattered sweater and gave it to David, motioning for him to put it on. David prayed again—asking God to help him show love and acceptance by slipping on the young man’s dirty, smelly sweater.
As he slipped the sweater over his head and the nauseating aroma descended on him, David finally saw the young man as God had seen him all along. God had seen beneath his repulsive appearance to his deep hunger for the love of Jesus Christ. Like everyone who accepts Christ, he had been immediately transformed on the inside. He still had an odor. But inside, he’d become a new creation.
Love by faith those who may seem unlovable. Like the man with the smelly sweater, people are waiting to be warmed with God’s love and forgiveness.
I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me. Matthew 25:40
By Vonette Bright
©2023 Bright Media Foundation.