He walked through the main door as if he owned the room. He possessed this bravado that he was clearly unaware of. Once he entered, everyone flocked his direction. They just wanted a taste of his presence, and he didn’t give it a second thought. Although there were many times that I witnessed this, there was something different about tonight. I ran his way in anticipation for a hug, but as I leaned in his comforting scent wasn’t present. I took in another whiff, and the distinct smell of smoke was clutching on to his clothes. Taken aback, I stared into his lively sky-blue eyes to find them dead, obstructed by the toxic fumes of the stick he lit prior. As though a string connected my heart and face, they simultaneously fell at the thought of this act of defiance.
He was a young man trying to follow Jesus and ended up trying to earn Jesus instead. That is the exact belief that kick started a cycle that spun out of control too quickly for him to grasp. A month prior he was serving God and taking the steps to reflect Christ in every action he took. He felt the desperate stirring inside of his soul and decided to satisfy his hunger with the promise of God’s truth. Now looking at him, I felt as though I did not even recognize him. Within a period of thirty days, he found something much more tangible to sink his teeth into. The world’s lies became his favorite food, and it consumed his every thought.
Grabbing his arm, I pulled him aside to reevaluate the situation. When I touched his arm, it was as though I could feel every inch of sadness within him. He peered down at me and smiled, and it was evident that he took every broken piece of his soul and glued them together just to put together one smile. He tried to hide the depression that he was plagued with, but it was too palpable to turn away from.
“Trent, let’s go for a walk,” I said.
He didn’t object, and that showed me just how desperate he was. He was desperate for someone to notice that he wasn’t okay, although he tried to advertise a completely different message that everyone else seemed to have bought. As we walked through the gloomy, summer night, his bravado started to unfold in front of me. He built his walls so tall and thick that it blocked out all of the light from his darkened spirit. I was humbled that he let down the walls without a second thought. When the walls came down, I realized the amount of strength it took him to constantly keep them up. His face that once held a smile had wilted, his posture drooped, and his eyes became honest with fear.
Once we found a place to sit, I poured my heart out to him. I told him how dead his eyes looked, and how loved he was regardless of what he was doing. I shared that there were bigger plans for him, and that it was okay if he was hurt, confused, angry, or afraid of the One who loved him the most. I did not speak much more than that, and it was simply because my words weren’t the ones that mattered. He finally had the opportunity to be real and honest with someone who was not going to judge him, condemn him, or punish him.
Word after word came spilling out of his mouth and it was obvious how much he just needed someone to listen. It was difficult for him to be vulnerable, but as the tears welled up in his eyes, it was clear that this was the one thing he really needed. He wasn’t in need for advice or for another person to tell him that he wasn’t living right. He was in need of the love of Christ, and the comforting truth that there was a Savior that had already won this battle.
A couple of months later, I asked him about this conversation and how it affected him. He shared that this was the moment he was going to choose whether to completely walk away from God or once again try to fight for his relationship with Christ. I was so completely awed that the God of the universe could use me to be a part of his story.
When I was two years old my father left my mother and I to be with his mistress. One could say that it was engrained into my brain that I was insignificant and that I didn’t really matter. It wasn’t until God used me in Trent’s story that I realized that I wasn’t just another Christian. Though being a follower of Christ means becoming part of something bigger than yourself, I have never felt of more importance. Through helping Trent, and just showing him the truth about God’s love, it was clear that God had a plan for me.
We are not called to believe that we are insignificant, but to acknowledge the power that has been freely given to us through the blood of Christ. We are to make significant impacts for the kingdom of God, and that’s not by condemning those who are struggling, but by loving them as Christ would. When I confronted Trent, I didn’t do it out of anger or of hopes to humiliate him, I did it out of love. I knew that the only way for one to truly come out of their sin was through love, for Christ’s love pushed me to pursue Him with no reservations. We must realize that the motive to confront a person is much more important than the actual confrontation. We must realize that insignificance is the enemy, and true value is found in Christ.