I overheard the strangest conversation at Starbucks today. Two 50ish world-worn men sat with their coffee in the corner, in what at first appeared to be some kind of business meeting with folders and a binder sitting next to their cups. I heard snippets of conversation, something about calling CNN and investigations and trials. While waiting for my tall toffee-nut latte, my eavesdropping (if you could call it that, as they made no attempt to whisper) revealed that one of the men was trying to come to terms with his grandfather’s untimely and tragic murder some years ago.
I sat down with my latte and my Bible at the table farthest away, because I went to Starbucks to study God’s word about hope, not to listen to some personal story however compelling it may be. But strong words continued to drift my way — words like closure, random luck of the draw, wrong place at the wrong time. Gun shot wounds. Bullet fragments. The WHAT and WHEN and HOW questions of a family’s tragedy muddled up in the cold language of court reports, explosive wrenching pain of lives separated through death and sin. I listened with a curious, quiet empathy — all the while scanning Scripture for verses about hope.
Then the conversation turned somehow to personal exploits, and the same man who remained bewildered by his grandfather’s murder recounted with a chuckle the time he had a one-night stand with some hot woman from California and lied to his wife about it. When she found out, she confronted him and even punched him, but he continued to lie and she eventually believed his story. As the two men tossed their empty cups in the trash I heard him mutter something about even so, it was worth that one great evening. My empathy had long since been replaced by sadness.
I find it interesting that in a span of 30 minutes, this man recalled with near agony the pain caused to him by someone else’s sin and then tells the thrill of his own with no remorse for the pain he caused others. What is it about the human heart that so easily finds sin? But maybe I’m not so different. Try as I might, I still struggle with pride, arrogance, anger, bitterness, self-centeredness, fear, and the list goes on. The collateral damage of our lives piles up fairly quickly, don’t you think?
As humans we have no hope outside of Jesus. If you have been going through life as if sin doesn’t matter, your eyes are only half open.
“The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light… clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 13:11-12, 14.