Have you ever been screamed at and cussed out in two separate occasions on the same day?
Well, I have… and I chose to be in both situations.
I was living in Florida at the time and my friend invited to one of those “screamo” concerts, and let me tell ya, you must have some real “father issues” if you like that music. In fact, at the end of this post I will leave my phone number if you need to talk. So, for two and a half hours I stood there while this really sweaty, angry guy just screamed at me and the drummer did this amazing double pedal thing. When the concert was finally over - and my ears finally stopped bleeding - I decided I was going to walk home.
and then it happened…
As I began my journey home, which was really only three blocks away, I saw this young guy walk by. I really didn’t think anything of it because it was in a really hip populated area in Tampa.
But, then it happened…
I started walking and I heard this voice in my head say, “Tell him I love him.”
“Wait… what?” I remember thinking.
Maybe this is just the aftermath of being screamed at for two and a half hours.
Have you ever had that overwhelming thought, or in my case, a voice just telling you to do something? and you can’t shake it? Yeah. It wouldn’t stop.
I was tired, hungry, and my head hurt…but what the heck, it will cost me like two minutes to tell this guy.
What can it hurt?
By the time I finally made the decision to tell this guy he was already way up the street. So, I took off running and when I finally caught up to him, thinking in my head this should be really easy, I say to him,
“Hey man, I just wanted to tell you that Jesus loves ya bro.”
He looks at me straight in the eye and says, “F-YOU!”
I was a little taken off guard, but hey, I suppose it’s kind of a normal response towards some crazy guy yelling at you that Jesus loves you. So I began to walk away thinking, “Well, I did what I was supposed to do.” and then it happens again… the voice.
“Tell him I love him.”
He cussed me out remember?
“Tell him I love him.”
It wouldn’t go away.
I promise you, I’m not crazy.
Well, maybe a bit.
So, by this time the guy was way up the street again so I take off running and when I finally catch up to him I say,
“Hey again, I just wanted to tell you that Jesus loves you.”
He turns around and this time, let me just say he says things to me that I don’t think are possible to write.
A lot of F’s and a lot of threats just to make it simple for ya.
But, tell him “I love him.”
Maybe it’s that simple
Do you remember when life was simple? When you were a child and you saw the world in wonder?
The other day I was driving to work in my hot PT Cruiser with my headphones on listening to the new Hillsong United album ( side note: I know it’s illegal to drive with headphones on. Since writing this I have stopped. You’re welcome. ), and at the end of one of the songs a conversation happens between a father and son. It goes something like this:
Son: I know what he was talking about today at church.
Father: What was he talking about?
Father: What else was he talking about?
Son: Um, i think freedom?
Son: But, I don’t know what freedom mean…
Father: ( laughs )
Son: But, I know what Love means…
Father: What does love mean?
Son: Love just means… love.
As soon as this conversation ended, my heart was so overwhelmed and my eyes were flooded with so many tears that I had to pull over on the side of the road. I sat in my car and literally cried for fifteen minutes uncontrollably.
I have spent the better part of my life wondering what love really is. Or asking myself, how do I love?
May I propose this simple answer: love is just love.
Maybe it’s that easy.
The purpose of writing this is not to wow you. It’s not to go into different types of love, or even ways to love.
But it’s to spark inside of you something like wonder.
To remember when you were a child and you just loved.
That it didn’t matter what
but you just loved.
3 to 4 miles later
When I finally caught back up, I followed him for three to four miles and just repeated the same sentence over and over.
“Jesus loves you man, and He has a plan for you life.”
and over and over again he responded in sentences like this,
“I hate you, go away!”
and a lot of curse words that I couldn’t even begin to write.
But, something inside me kept saying,
“Just tell him I love him.”
I know if you’re reading this that it must sound insane.
I agree with you.
but, just maybe, this is love.
After three to four miles of this, it finally happens.
He turns around and looks directly into my eyes with tears running down his face and says,
“You have no idea what you have done. I am on my way to kill myself right now.”
He gets on his knees and asks me,
“How do I know this Jesus? Because He must really love me.”
With tears running down my face (even now tears are running down my face) I get on my knees with him and I hug him as hard as I can. We pray, cry some more, and end up talking all night.
His name is Ryan.
Ryan is alive because love is… just love.
It wasn’t a secret formula.
Or a program or a strategy.
It was just love.
Where ever you’re at, I want you to know that Jesus loves you and He has a plan for you life.
Just like Ryan.
You may not believe in all this Jesus stuff and that’s okay.
He still loves you.
The amazing thing about the Story of Jesus is that He loves everyone.
and died for everyone.
Can I say it again… Everyone.
So that we could have life and life to the fullest.
That we could know what love really is.
What’s so amazing is that His story reflects one word:
That he laid his life down asking nothing in return.
I may not know what freedom really means, but I know what love means…
it means Jesus.
and the only reasonable response to this story is to love the same way.
If you’re searching for love in this moment in your life, may I suggest a person?
The personification of love.
A cause worth dying for!
PS. There's nothing wrong with music that screams, but seriously if you need to talk, call/text me.