He was the roughest of the rough. They had sent him out of the city into the area where they buried their dead. They tried to chain him and keep him away from “normal, decent” people. But then, a miracle occurred. He met Jesus. Jesus cast out his demons, but he ruffled the townsfolk when He did that because He sent about two thousand sources of bacon into the sea. They begged Jesus to leave – perhaps because they were afraid He would find the rest of their bacon sources. As Jesus got ready to leave, the one who had been healed sought to go with Him as a disciple. “While he was climbing into the boat, the one who had been demon-possessed pleaded with Jesus to let him come along as one of his disciples. But Jesus wouldn’t allow it. ‘Go home to your own people,’ Jesus said, ‘and tell them what the Lord has done for you and how he has shown you mercy.’” (Mark 5:18-19) As I read this, my mind went back to the story of a young man in Rwanda who was among the roughest of the rough. He raised himself on the streets after the genocide of 1994 and his life showed it. Then, to make a long story short, he met Jesus. He is now among the most gentle of men. He is still respected in the rough areas, and he continues to share the love of Jesus among the people he grew up with. There are two lessons here: first, no one is without hope; second, the power of one changed life to change others is amazing. There is no telling what will happen when we live out our faith.
Lord God, there are people that I sometimes think about giving up on. When I feel that way, remind me that You didn’t give up on me and You didn’t give up on my friend in Rwanda. Help me to show Your love to each and every person I meet, from the kindest and gentlest to the roughest of the rough, and draw them to You.