Don’t Walk By

Matthew 8:28-34 28And when He arrived at the other side in the country of the Gadarenes, two men under the control of demons went to meet Him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce and savage that no one was able to pass that way.  29And behold, they shrieked and screamed, What have You to do with us, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come to torment us before the appointed time?  30Now at some distance from there a drove of many hogs was grazing.   31And the demons begged Him, If You drive us out, send us into the drove of hogs.  32And He said to them, Begone! So they came out and went into the hogs, and behold, the whole drove rushed down the steep bank into the sea and died in the water.  33The herdsmen fled and went into the town and reported everything, including what had happened to the men under the power of demons. 34And behold, the whole town went out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their locality.
I had something in mind when I first read this scripture, but then God spoke something else to me. So we’ll save my idea for another day and go with His! What really struck me here was in verse 28 two men came to meet Jesus who were demon-possessed. It says they were so fierce and savage that no one was able to pass that way. I am sure that everyone must have been afraid of them, and when I read this it made me feel sad. I thought of these two men, out of their minds, with no control over how they lived their life. They weren’t able to be around society and so they lived in the tombs. They reminded me of some men I saw a few years ago in Honduras. We went to an area of town called the Chivarito. It was an area so rough that you could literally see a different drug being sold on every corner. There was a lot of gang activity, poverty, sickness, and it wasn’t a very nice place to be. Many of the people living in this area were addicted to glue. Yes, they sniffed glue to the point that they were out of their minds, they had no family, no money, no clothing and no home. Without a place to sleep at night, many of them would go to the side of a hill where there were a bunch of graves. They dug out the tombs and slept in them along with the old bones of dead people. No, I’m not kidding. In the midst of this mess, however, shone a small light of hope. A local pastor started a mission where he began to rehabilitate these hopeless men. He could only take a limited number each year, but he gave them a place to live, taught them a skill, got them off of drugs or glue, and helped them to get back on their feet, and most importantly he taught them about the things of God. When the men would graduate from his program, many of them reconciled with their families, and they were able to then turn around and mentor the next group of addicts. So many people would just walk by these guys, but one man knew he could help them find a better way of life. Kind of like Jesus did. He didn’t try to get away from the demon-possessed men, instead He set them free and gave them an opportunity to be restored. In every city, all around the world there are desperate people who are looking for hope. When we see them, will we turn away because of fear, disgust or pity, or will we offer them the freedom that we ourselves have experienced in Christ? Let’s take our example from Jesus and bring restoration into the lives of those we come into contact with.

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