When I read of this site, my first thought was, Warning: Now entering the realm of the macabre! But then I kept thinking of the good things, at least the not so bad things. My first comment was, Can anything good come out of COBU? On further reflection, I say the only good that had come out is some memories. And of course the people. But in what condition did we come out? Contaminated! Barely alive and in our right minds, if that fortunate.
Here then is a good story. One of least contamination by the spirit of COBU and its founder. I met Sharon right around the corner from our storefront commune in downtown Baltimore. It was a nice day for a walk and a little shopping in the market, and for me to go “witnessing.” She was my age, a bright, soft-spoken, attractive young black lady; thoughtful and decisive. I had prayed and gone out alone, on my lunch break. Never before or since had I “known” that Jesus would answer my prayer and my desire to lead someone to him.
After stopping her and quickly going through the prescribed gospel message and the appeal of how good it could be for her too, she simply said, “Okay, I think I’d like that; but after I do some shopping.” Good thing I didn’t push her or express doubt that she’d be back, because she returned as promised; and repeated the Sinner’s Prayer, that apparently didn’t change her at all. She remained calm and attentive, and proceeded to ace a little quiz I gave her on the color code of John 17:3.
I thanked the Lord for rewarding my faith, not realizing his Spirit had inspired it, to bless Shaaron, and me as well. And I thank the Lord now that she did not come to visit, even though I followed up to get her to. She had obviously known about Jesus and perhaps saw no harm in saying another prayer. I think the Lord used it to meet a need for her. And one for me. Something to reflect on in contrast to the way I would learn to witness, how we were directed to “push the gospel,” an oxymoron if you think about it.
Never being that good at preaching and testifying impromptu on the street, I would often check myself from demanding what one must do purely from choice and desire, and feel alright about it. Simple courtesy and basic respect of people! There’s no need to feel guilty about not bearing that kind of witness.