This is a fictional tale of three sinners. If one of them sounds a lot like you, it might not be coincidence.
Our first sinner is named Wiley. That might not be his real name but its what he goes by, that’s all I know. When Wiley was twenty-three, he wanted to be an actor. He was homeless, lived in a box behind the downtown Walmart in LA. He did odd jobs and sold a little weed on the side to make a living. Wiley had accepted Jesus when he was eight and his parents were Christian but Batman was Wiley’s real hero.
Wiley had been invited to a happy Church a few months before… They had a good music group, the girls were pretty and their Dance Costumes skin tight… The Preacher just kept telling Wiley that Jesus loved him just the way he was… Wiley wanted to go to Heaven and the preacher assured him that Jesus loved everybody. Nobody ever said anything but Wiley figured out that if he sang real loud and put money in the plate, he would go to Heaven when he died.
Our Second sinner is named Calvin. Calvin accepted Jesus when he was eight and attended church with his parents. Calvin always did what he was told, graduated from High School with a 3.5 GPA and joined the Army. Calvin loved the Army. It was so very simple, they told you what to do and you did it. Rules seemed to be very important in the Army and so Calvin obtained a book on military law. While his buddies were out drinking, Calvin was reading his very own copy of the UCMJ… the Law.
At twenty-three, Calvin was back from the Army and starting college. With the GI Bill and help from his Dad, Calvin would not even have to work. He might even be able to do a Bachelor’s Degree in three years. In four years in the Army, Calvin had only been in trouble one time. When the Sergeant had told him to go into the Gas Chamber and breath Tear Gas, Calvin had told him that that violated Section 4.3, Subsection b of the UCMJ and was therefore, an illegal order. The Captain had disagreed and Calvin spent thirty days confined to base… By the time he got out, even Calvin had put that behind him.
Harvey was, I suppose, the worst sinner of all. At 23, Harvey was just getting out of prison. He was barely turned 19 when a seven-year-old kid from down the street made fun of the way he walked. Harvey was a Christian from a Christian family. Harvey was mostly a good kid but something in his bones wasn’t quite right… Harvey did walk funny. When the kid teased him like that, Harvey forgot how big he was. For just a minute, Harvey was an angry little boy. He had backhanded that boy so hard that if shattered his jaw.
Now 23, Harvey had served three years in the State Penitentiary. He was a Convicted Felon, Assault and Battery on a Child Under Twelve Years of Age. It was in prison that Harvey had developed the deep and lasting relationship with Jesus. A relationship he would enjoy for the rest of his life. The day he got out of prison, the Local Paper put him on the front page, just to remind the community what kind of man he was. When his Dad pulled the car into the driveway, there were a hundred reporters and curious people in his yard. He opened the door to a huge roar as unintelligible questions were thrown at him. Harvey motioned them to be quiet, and assuming he would make a statement they could make fun of, they quieted down. “Jesus loves me, this I know.” Is all Harvey said before pushing his way through the crowd and entering the house.
Twenty years later, two out of three of our heroes are married; all three have kids. Although they live in three different cities, from coast to coast and although they do not know each other, our three gentlemen have faced identical situations. (I can make that happen, it’s my story.)
Wiley woke up with a bit of a hangover and started towards the studio. Not a famous actor, Wiley made a living as the instantly recognized face of the Termite in the perpetual ads of LA’s major Pest Control company, and he still sold a little weed on the side to help feed the kids… Leaving his live in girl of twenty years sleep, he headed out for breakfast at McDonalds. Entering the door, a pretty young lady smiled and asked him to join her after he got his food. Thirty minutes later, Wiley had called in sick at work and headed off with the young lady for some weed and a little sex.
Six months later, the mother of Wiley’s children confronted him. Slapping her on the back-side, Whiley said, “You ain’t tied down, move out if you want… Jesus paid it all and I’m just having a little fun…”
Calvin’s wife was starting early menopause and had been very cranky lately. She didn’t let him get out the door before she started yelling about something. In no mood for breakfast at home, Calvin thought to stop at McDonalds for breakfast on his way to the University where he served as Disciplinary Dean. It was his job to enforce the rules and he had ruined the life and career of more than one young person in the fulfillment of his duties. When Calvin hit the door at McDonalds, a young lady smiled and invited him to join her. Adultery was wrong; Calvin knew the Ten Commandments by heart and had sworn to obey them all. This might be a little dangerous but it didn’t really break any commandments and it would be nice to talk with a lady who wasn’t screaming at him…
Six months later, Calvin’s wife confronted him. “You can’t leave me!” he cried. “I’m the Dean at a Christian University and a Deacon at the Church, you will ruin me! You don’t know how hard I tried not to sin, I cried real tears and I begged God to give me the strength to overcome. God didn’t do anything, He just let me fall into sin! I can’t believe it, He knows how hard I have tried to serve him and how much I have suffered working here instead of Harvard… Now you are going to leave me and embarrass me in front of everybody… How can you do that to me?”
Harvey slipped on his boots and kissed his wife goodbye. She had been more than a little cranky lately but he kissed her anyway. He would let her sleep and catch a bite at McDonalds on his way to the welding shop. It wasn’t much of a job but it paid the bills. It was hard for a Child Abuser to find work anywhere and his boss had kept him on for these twenty years anyway. As he came up to Main Street, something caught in his spirit. He didn’t know how to explain it but he had learned that this was the voice of God. Turning right instead of left, he pulled into the parking lot at Denny’s. As he entered the restaurant, he saw his Pastor with several of the men from the church. They invited him over and the Pastor even put his breakfast on the church credit card. Harvey kept trying to figure out what that was all about… nothing important had happened at that impromptu meeting… Why was he there?
Six months later, Harvey’s marriage was stronger than ever. Harvey would never know about the pretty young woman who sat waiting for him at McDonalds…