Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! (Hebrews 13:2 NLT)
This week I was talking to my friend Evette. She doesn't read my blog, but friends from church know her, and I am sure she won't mind me retelling her story. She inspired me.
First of all, let me tell you about a soul called Leslie. The first time I saw Leslie, 7-8 years ago, he was standing in the back of my church wearing a tight teal blue dress, 3" red heels, make up, bright red lipstick, his hair was — and still is — long, and he was carrying a gold purse.
He just stood there just as plain as day looking for a seat. My family sits on the back row and my twins were infants at the time, so I can't say that my whole attention was on this visitor, but he certainly caught my attention.
Several people went up to Leslie and visited with him. I am assuming someone asked him to sit with them. He came back to church while he was in Abilene several times, maybe off and on for several months, but one day he decided it was time to move on. There were several people who tried to reach out a helping hand to Leslie — food, money and even some men's clothing, although he was not interested in the latter.
Leslie found his way to Austin. That is where he lives now. And that is where my story for today really starts. My friend, Evette, told me she was in Austin for a teacher's conference. She knew that Leslie hung out on 6th street, so she went looking for him. She had been one of the people who had befriended Leslie in Abilene.
Evette asked several people if they knew where Leslie could be found. One woman said to her, "Why would you want to find him?"
Evette said as plain as day, and very convicted, "He is my friend."
She eventually found Leslie and visited with him on the street. She asked him if he remembered her, and he said, "Yes, you are Evette, from Abilene."
Leslie works the streets. He is addicted and looks gaunt and thin. His hair is thinning. The clothes he was wearing were women's under garments and he was on the street. People that walked by knew the person he was — his character, his life — but my friend, Evette, talked with him as though he was a long lost friend and she was proud to know him.
God forgive me! Help me see your children with your eyes. Help me love with your compassion. Help my heart break for those whom you love that are lost, even when it gets messy. God bless Evette. May she continue to love with your love and inspire me — and others — to get out of our comfort zones and love those we don't understand.
God loves Leslie, and so must we. There will be Leslie's in all of our lives — people that make us uncomfortable, people that don't fit our mold, people that are obnoxious and arrogant, people that hurt our feelings — but those are our Leslie's. God loves us in our worst moments, how can we withhold that love from others?
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. ... But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. ... For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:6-10 NRS emphasis added)