Jesus said, “Fear of man is a dangerous trap.” Just what did He mean by that? Is that saying so ambiguous that we overlook its significance in the biblical message?
Now it could be that some of us have decided one way or another, and what might seem right to some may not be right to others. Having been engaged in my street ministry for many years I take it to mean being afraid of what others think of you. But my conversion over forty years ago was so dramatic I had to tell others about it. I couldn’t believe the peace I was experiencing after crying out to God at the top of my lungs deep in the woods at midnight. I buried my nose in the Bible from that point on. I had to know more about Him.
I may have had some apprehension about witnessing in the beginning, but seeing how people react to the gospel of Jesus Christ I needn’t have been afraid. I’ve only been rejected twice.
Facing our fears is not an easy thing to do, but like the Scriptures say, the more I did it the more confident I became. It’s become second nature to share my faith with any and everyone.
Let me tell you a little story about one such encounter in my street ministry.
It just so happens that I enjoy going out on a Saturday to do a little witnessing. I usually go where the people are, usually a strip mall or shopping center. A small group of Jehovah’s Witnesses were gearing up to go knocking on doors. They stayed in the shade of the few trees lining the parking lot, talking to one another and gathering their courage to go out and make converts.
Many times they just spend the day talking amongst themselves, and unable to bolster their courage, they would leave for the day. I usually take advantage of a group like this to share the gospel with them. They more often than not have no reply except to try to foist their literature on me. I leave them knowing God is the one doing the convicting, and so my work is done.
However, on one particular Saturday years ago, as I was driving into the parking lot of a strip mall I spied a big brute of a young man sitting on the colorful patio chairs that were for sale in the front of the Winn Dixie store. He stood out like a sore thumb with tattoos all over his body and even on his bald head. The tattoos were of snakes, human skulls and flowers.
There was a grotesque beauty about them with their iridescent reds, blues and greens. The snakes looked real and sinister crawling up both of his arms. I really can’t remember the tattoo on his head, but I remember the big scar running from the back of his head to the front, just below his cranium. Somewhere on his body was written “Hells Angels.” I think it was on his T shirt.
As I was getting ready to make a left to drive into the parking lot I was asking the Lord for guidance in whom I should talk to. But the moment I laid eyes on him with his head in his hands, I knew he was the one. I parked and thought to myself, Now you’ve done it big shot, what if this guy is carrying a switch blade in one of his motorcycle boots and is just waiting for someone to slice open? I took a deep breath and approached him.
“Mind if I sit here,” as I backed up to the adjoining plastic chair.
“Help yourself,” the big burly thirty-some year old man replied.
I couldn’t help but notice his red swollen eyes when he turned to respond to me, so I asked, “Are you all right?”
The big brute replied, “I haven’t slept in days.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“I just got out of the hospital a couple of days ago. I crashed my motorcycle doing seventy and wasn’t expected to live, cracked my skull, got a steel plate put in. I was in a coma for thirty days.”
“It looks like you’re going to make it,” I said reassuringly.
“I don’t know, but I sure could use some sleep,” he replied.
“Why don’t you take some sleeping pills?”
“I have plenty that the doctor gave me, but I’m afraid to take them. I’m afraid I won’t come back!”
“What do you mean?” I inquired.
“Well, when I was in the coma all I could see was blackness. I knew I was dead or dying. I was afraid, terrified really. I cried out to God. Oh God, SAVE ME. I have a little boy who I want to bring up. I don’t want to die! I don’t know how long it took for Him to answer, but it seemed like it happened right away. Now I’m afraid to go back to that dark place and never wake up again.”
It didn’t take long for my answer to come to mind and I asked him if he wanted perfect peace, a peace that would let him sleep. He answered, “Yes.” “If you repent of your past life and receive Jesus Christ into your heart and life He will forgive your sins and give you a peace that surpasses all understanding,” I said.
“But how do I do that?”
“Just repeat after me in your own words. Lord Jesus, I’m sorry for the way I’ve been living and for ignoring you and God the Father. Please forgive me and forgive my many sins. Give me the forgiveness and peace that you promise in the Bible.”
The big tough Hells Angel blubbered the prayer in his own words, even as the Saturday afternoon shoppers swirled around us, impervious to our presence and caught-up in their own thoughts and concerns.
I assured the man that he would have a peace that surpasses all understanding and that he would sleep soundly tonight. I also told him to get baptized and find a Bible-believing church and begin reading the Scriptures. Thanking me, he agreed to all that I said, and let out a sigh of relief as if a huge weight had been removed from off his shoulders. We said our good-byes and he left me to go home somewhere in central Florida to get some sleep.
This and many more such stories and scenes will appear in my book and depicted in my movie, The Prophecies which is based on my street ministry. One of my favorite verses is: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”
By the way, a reader who saw the Four Blood Moons movie by John Hagee never once mentioned Jesus Christ! I can’t say firsthand since it isn’t showing anywhere near where I live.
I did get chided for mentioning Roma Downy’s Easter T.V. special in my last article, but since I don’t watch television, I only mentioned it in passing, like I did The Four Blood Moons.
Jim Torres “Towers”