A case of changed identity

MY FRIEND Dave works in the kitchen at one of our Jesus Centres. When he’s not making breakfasts for the many homeless and disadvantaged people who come into the centre, Dave is also their sometime counsellor, occasional medic and – always – their good friend.

But Dave didn’t always do this sort of thing. At one time he had a very different sort of job. Some years back he was an altogether different kind of character.

A few months ago a chap called Will came to work with Dave, helping him to cook, wash up and generally run the busy kitchen. Will is a Christian, interested in the work of the Jesus Centre, wanting to play his part.

Dave had a funny feeling that he knew Will, but couldn’t quite place him. A vague sense of familiarity, but he shrugged it off. After a while, however, Dave thought, “Why not? – I’ll ask him.”

“Will, do you know me?” Dave said.

“Yes,” said Will, “but I don’t want to tell you why because it might sour our relationship. I think you might be really angry with me.”

“Look,” said Dave, “I’m a Christian now. My past life is done with, I’m a changed person and I’m completely happy to forgive you any wrong you might have done me in the past; don’t worry about it at all.”

Will still hesitated – but at last the story came out.

Will had been a policeman. In fact, he’d been in a serious crime unit. His team had worked with Interpol, tracing the movements of criminals around the world.

They’d been looking for an LSD factory that they knew existed somewhere in Europe. It was producing many gallons – and millions of pounds’ worth – of liquid hallucinogen. For a time they had combed Amsterdam thinking it was there, but at length their search brought them back into the UK and the depths of the English countryside. There they had discovered Dave’s big drug factory.

For a long time they watched, making careful note of every movement, every shipment, every deal. When the operation was complete, they had arrested Dave and Will had given evidence against him. He had stood up in court to testify, and that is where Dave had seen him before. Dave had done a fair bit of time in prison as a result of that trial. The serious crime unit had got him, bang to rights, and Dave had a large debt to pay back to society as a result.

Now for some people this revelation might have brought an element of strain into their relationship. Not so for Dave and Will. Since he became a Christian, Dave has found a whole new identity – a new way of living. His former criminal ways are history. His heart has changed. In fact, both former policeman and criminal have found equality before God: both know their need of God’s mercy and love. There’s no place for bitterness and resentment.

So former peeler and former dealer find fellowship together at the kitchen sink…

So former peeler and former dealer find fellowship together at the kitchen sink in the Jesus Centre. They have found a shared purpose as well, in reaching out and serving those who Jesus cares for. They’re no longer foes – they’re bros.

Published 24th September 2010 with tags: friendship testimony

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