I was in a van with a man.
He was driving me to Target.
It hit me that it was 2 pmish on a weekday and he was probably in his early 50’s in a beat up minivan that he apologized for having when I got in.
“Sorry. It’s no tour bus”, he said.
“Dude. This is the most amazing 1987 Chrysler minivan I’ve ever been in. I play Christian music. I roll in a Hyundai”. I replied.
I actually LOVE getting run around by local church volunteers when we stop on tour.
Seeing that it is mostly early afternoon during sound checks they have interesting jobs.
This last week I’ve met a “asphalt chemist” who mixes different types of asphalt for different types of roads and parking lots, a phone book data entry girl who hates her job but loves calling people with her last name to see if they are related, and this dude.
The dude with the 1987 minivan.
“I’m currently unemployed”.
“Ah. I hear you man. Along with 50% of the country. What kind of work do you do?”
“Well, anything really. I just moved here a few months back and am looking for anything”
“How did you get here?” I asked.
Deep breath from my new friend.
“You want the truth?”
“2 years ago I molested my 10 year old step daughter and had to get out of town to start over”
“But man. God has healed me and when my ex wife asked me if it was true, I felt God telling me that it was time to break free from any sexual addiction. I could have covered up any sort of evidence. I could have gotten away with it. But I’m now free. I’m broke. But I’m free. Healed by the blood of Jesus and free from itI” The joy in his voice was unmistakable.
I was intrigued…”So if you don’t mind me asking, how has the church responded to you?”
“I was kicked out of my last church. They asked me not to come back. But I found a church here in town that is full of sick people just like me. And with the type of sin I committed, it’s sort of a one and done deal. Christians have a hard time believing that I can be healed or forgiven COMPLETELY by God for this. So I’ll be labeled by my sin for the rest of my life while most others get a second chance. I’m pretty much done. No one is going to let a convicted child molester do anything in their church. That is the hardest part. I’m thinking in 20 years I’ll still be outcasted for what I did. Which was a disgusting and repulsive thing. I used to think I deserved death and harm until I met Jesus. Now I’m confused because He says I deserve grace and a second chance. But from what I see. I’m not getting one”
We chatted for another 30 minutes and I told him to come find me before my set.

I went back to the bus and thought all sorts of things.
1. I would not want my little kids around this dude.
2. Who am I to judge “healed” or not.
3. He’s right. He’s done. But the dude who is sleeping with 4 girls at one time and breaking hearts all over can teach my girls Sunday morning class and it’s ok.
4. He was molested when he was 6 by his older brother. I have no idea what being molested does to the psyche. When I look at him I don’t see a 6 year old. I see a 56 year old.
5. At what age is the cutoff for our “sick meter”. A 14 year old and a 12 year old? 16? 18? 21?
6. How long should my friend be kept away from our children?
7. Will we ever believe COMPLETE healing happens?
8. He said it went from porn to prostitutes to molestation in 2 years. I wonder how close many church staffers are to crossing this line.
9. Could I forgive this dude if it was my daughter?

I’ll stop at 9. I hate lists of 10.
So as I was walking on stage he was standing next to it.
“The 4th song is for you man” I said.

Played the set.
Walked off stage.
He was standing there in tears.

I looked at him square in the eye…
“I’d let you have dinner with my family man. My wife would cook you a meal to remember and my kids would make you feel forgiveness unlike any you know. He IS a God of second chances and if you are clean in His eyes, you are clean in mine. Live well my friend”

At the moment I said that, I believed every word I spoke.
I’ve shuffled in my head since then.
But at that moment I believed it. And I think that was the moment Christ was speaking through me and I was not clouded by, well, me.

I know there are consequences of sin. Like the little girl he molested being wounded for life. We all scar others with our sins in varying levels. This is one of the worst levels of wounding imaginable. So yea. He’s got major consequences.
But yes…I always end with a question…or 2.
Can my buddy be completely healed and free of this and if so, can we as humans ever trust true healing can happen?

Ragamuffins, talk…