Bryan started as a temp. Working on the dock were I worked. Like allot of the guys there he was rude and rude, but a hard worker. he migrated from Vermont to Dothan by way of working as a carny (someone traveling with a carnival). He quickly became disliked by the others by showing a know-it-all attitude and making a habit of breaking into others conversations when he wasn’t asked. Speaking as if he knew exactly what was going on and how to do whatever was being discussed. He always had a story to go with every situation, bigger and better than the one told before. He was quickly branded a liar. People in the south take great offense of this especially if the person is from up north. His speech was no worse than the other guys were. Using GD, MF as if they were all one word and could be to be used more than once a sentence.
I saw a need in Bryan and decided to befriend him. And when the opportunity came try to lead him to the Lord. First of all I did not join in on the jokes and trash-talk that was heaped his way. The others made a habit of twisting every word he said to make it seem he was lying and called him stupid and dummy to his face. Break-time became a bash-Bryan party. Second, Anytime I needed help from a dockhand, I grabbed Bryan to get him away from the rest of the crew and just tried to be nice to him and show him a little respect. But it seemed the more I was nice to him the more know-it-all and smart-mouthed he became to me. He became very hard to work with.
Then one day he did not show up for work. We all though he had skipped town or was in jail. The guys continued to talk about him even after he was gone. I had failed to find a time to speak with him about the Lord, but in my heart I was relieved that the strain of trying to befriend him was gone.
After about a week or more I was greeted at work with, "Hey, Wayne your buddy is back and they hired him full-time". I knew exactly whom they were talking about. Although I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I was glad I would get a second chance to witness to him. While he was gone I was involved with a discussion group on the internet about the best way to witness at work and the prevailing answer was to just live your witness and be an example. They told me that tracts and straightforward witness was to judgmental and did not work. So I was glad to get another chance.
Again I tried to befriend him and help him out. He returned just as cocky because now he was fulltime and thought, "I must be as good as I think I am". He quickly became the bunt of jokes by continuing to be a know-it-all smart-mouthed food and cigarette bumming creep. But I knew the Lord loved him just as much as He loved me and He could do something great with Bryan.
Anyway, on his first day back he came in mouthing off to me and I started to reply with a quick comeback when I felt inside to remain quit. He then looked on the break table and saw a Bible lying there amongst the newspapers and candy wrappers left by the other workers. He picked it up and asked me if it was mine. When I said yes he asked if he could look at it. Of course I told him yes and when he cracked open the pages he quickly laid it down as if it reminded him of something he didn't want to remember. It was time to go back to work so we all took off to our jobs.
After he grew worse in appearance and conduct I tried to get alone with him and try to share the gospel with him. But the opportunity never came or I did not try hard enough.
Then one day he got off the phone and told me that he had lost the hotel room he was staying and did not know were his wife was. As we were leaving for the day he turned to me with a smile and said that he would have to sleep under the Reeves Street bridge tonight and that it was to late to make it to the rescue mission. Seeing that it looked like it was going to rain that night I told him of a place near our church were he could stay and be out of the rain and cold. Not to mention it was a very dangerous neighborhood, mine. He stated that he didn't mind. He like sleeping out doors and he already knew some of the guys who would be there. He talked as if he was going to a party and was well satisfied with the way he wanted to live. So I said no more. I had passed under that bridge many times and never noticed any signs of homeless people sleeping there. And I look.
That was the last time I saw Bryan. The guys at work told me that they saw his picture on the news after a couple of days. It turned out that he was an unregistered sex offender. The news report said that he took a job near a daycare, which was against his probation. Not registering as a sex offender in our area is a very serious crime. I'm afraid even when he gets, he will not stay in Dothan since his picture will be mailed to everyone within a three mile radius of were he lives.
This is a true story and I wanted to share it because:
1. Was my "witness" by being an example enough for him to make a decision for Christ on his own later if the Lord lead?
2. Did I miss an opportunity to confront (with love) him with the gospel?
3. Will anyone or I else continue the witness?
4. When I stand before the Lord, will I have to give account for this failure? Is his blood on my hands?
If number four is true. Then I can repent because I know the grace and forgiveness that the Lord has in abundance. It is sad that Bryan did not hear about this before he left. All he knows is that Wayne is a nice guy who goes to church and reads his Bible.
I heard Joyce Myers say on the radio the other day, "We are here to impact not influence". How so true this is.
(this is a repost)