The Homeless Man

by Rhonda, October 23, 2023

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be completely free?  Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be free of all of my failures, all of my insecurities, and all of my sin.

Jesus was never thought about a situation and wondered how he looked, or whether he performed in a way that met people's expectations.  His mind was never on himself.  He was never bound by sin, never caught up in His own ego.  He never bragged about himself.  He never lied.  He never gossiped.  He never had a dark secret in the closet.  He never wavered from who He was or what He stood for.  He refused to live in bondage to sin.  

Nothing on this earth could chain Him.  Not money, not power, not reputation.  Nothing.

We tend to think we're bound by God's rules, but think of the bondage we choose on a daily basis when we live a life differently from the example of Jesus.

  • The addictions to drugs and alcohol.
  • The guilt from an affair
  • The drama caused by gossip
  • The web of entanglement caused by lies
  • The guilt after losing your temper
  • The relationships destroyed by abuse
  • The isolation caused by selfishness
God isn't interested in imprisoning us through a life of rules.  He's interested in freeing us from the chain of despair.  He wants us to be unapologetically ourselves, not some cheapened version of who He created us to be.

A few days ago, I was waiting at a bus stop to get on a public bus in the city.  I don't usually ride the bus, so I asked the man in line in front of me about the next stop and the destination I was heading.  He was homeless (our buses are free to ride), and he was hauling all of his possessions in his backpack.

"They open at 6 p.m.," he confirmed to me.  "This bus will take you there."

I looked into his face as he spoke to me and smelled the alcohol on his breath.  He was gritty, and streaks of dirt clouded his face.  His curly hair, once brown, was gray from the dust.  He looked older than he was, but his piercing blue eyes showed kindness along with his youth.  He quickly looked at the floor after he finished talking.  He didn't want to interact with me anymore.  

As the bus pulled up, I made my way to my seat and the woman next to me struck up a conversation.  She was riding the bus as a volunteer, leading a group of elderly blind people.  The blind, she explained to me, are often depressed and lonely.  If they don't know how to get around, they won't leave their homes.  So, someone has to show them.  She gestured to the seats in front of us, and I saw at least six elderly blind people with white canes sitting on the bus.

"We have to practice things like riding the bus," she said, "because I want them to live free."

I asked her if this was her full-time job, but she shook her head.  "No, it is just something I do on the weekends."  Then she smiled as the bus came to a stop.  "I look forward to it all week long, this is my favorite day of the week."

She got up and ushered her guests off of the bus and I could hear her directing them how to walk down the street as I went in the opposite direction.

There couldn't have been a better illustration of freedom versus bondage.  Both the volunteer woman and the homeless man were kind souls.  You know, addiction is such a horrible, horrible disease.  It steals lives, and it destroys families, so I don't want to give any sort of impression that I am looking down on the homeless man.    But, I also know that at some point, something that seemed fun or perhaps provided relief now became the source of bondage that stole everything from him.  Now, he slept on the streets and lived a shell of a life.   

It isn't God's ways that steal our freedom.  

I am really just coming into a better understanding of this.  Perhaps my issues are less dramatic, but every time I refuse to forgive, every time I get angry for no good reason, every time I choose a way that leads me from Jesus, I'm handing over my freedom.  I'm choosing bondage.  I'm the homeless man on the bus, feeding my addiction, riding the bus wherever sin takes me next.

God created us to have free will.  We have the power to stand up and say no to sin.  We get to choose which direction we go, which bus we ride.  And, even more important, we can choose to change directions at any time.  Right now, even, on this very day we can decide that we aren't going to live in bondage anymore.  Just because we chose sin once doesn't mean we have to continue to choose it.  Don't go back to the old ways just because they feel familiar.  God is doing a new thing.

God is completely committed to our freedom.  There is not one single piece of bondage that He wants to remain in our lives.  We are to be a slave to nothing, instead we are to be a son or daughter to Him.  Isn't that an incredible love?  Sin that once mastered us can be defeated.  Nothing is to be lord over us, absolutely nothing, except the love of God.  

What a Savior.

SHARE 0 comments

Add your comment