The Outsider


Reflecting upon the attitudes that exist in society towards those who turn to addiction to drugs and alcohol to numb the inner pain in their lives, I wrote this piece. I welcome your comments on the issues it presents for society and the Church.

Please note: This story is based upon a series of life observations that I have combined into a story. The situation presented is fictional.

I saw him standing at the church door. He had a kind face, but it was etched with years of hard living. He told me he was only 40, but looked more like 65. Life had been so rough for him.

The man cried as he told me how he felt so defeated by life.  Two years ago he had a great job and a loving family. Then, tragedy struck in a wave of events that destroyed his life. His wife died of breast cancer. It was so sad to hear him tell me how she died a little more each day. He fell apart. This once happy man started drinking. He wanted to find anything he could to numb this agonizing inner torture that kept him awake at nights. The booze didn’t do it, so he turned to drugs. He knew it was a slippery slope to a living hell he felt helpless to escape.

An anonymous complaint was filed against him with the children’s services department. Their investigation determined that he was unfit to care for his three children. They were removed from his home and put into foster care. He lost the home because he couldn’t keep up with the mortgage payments.

He had gone down so far that no one was willing to give him a place to stay. His own parents in as much as they loved him, couldn’t put up with his lies. He told them he was looking for work. His dad discovered him drinking away what little savings he had left at a local bar.

This sad man cried as he told me he stubbornly refused to go to a rehab centre to get sober. He refused any counseling for his alcohol and drug addiction. He had resorted to begging for money, so he could get his next fix. His parents had enough. They told him to leave. He told me he swore at them and said he hated their guts.

This tortured soul cried as he left for life out on the street.

He slept in a shelter to get out of the bitter winter cold whenever he could get in before it was filled to capacity. He told me he ended up in the hospital with hypothermia. He took his hands out of his torn jacket to show me that he had lost two fingers on his right hand to frostbite.

I wanted so much to invite him into church, but he stunk. What would the congregation think? He just didn’t fit in. I thought, “Maybe, if I give him $10.00 he’ll go away.” I can feel good inside that I listened to him and gave him enough for a hot meal.” Sure, I knew he would probably spend it on booze. I wanted to appease my conscience.

As I reached for a $10 bill in my wallet, I felt sick inside. Suddenly, guilt came into my spirit. What gave me or anyone a right to judge this man?  We are all sinners. We all have our struggles. This hurting soul needed my love, not my judgment. So what if he had holes in his shirt and jeans. He was sober enough to come and ask not for a hand out, but a hand up.

I felt convicted in my spirit for my unloving thoughts. I gave a silent prayer to God. I asked Him to forgive me for thinking this man was unfit to be in our church.

I touched him gently on the shoulder. I smiled and said, “Welcome. Come in out of the cold. I’ll get you a coffee. Here. Take my jacket. Looks like it will fit you.” He accepted my jacket with a warm smile as he put it on over his torn one. I brought him his coffee. He accepted it as he shivered from having been out in the cold.

I escorted the man to a seat in the sanctuary. He was just on time to hear our pastor’s sermon about the story of the good Samaritan. When our pastor spoke about loving  those who have fallen into addictions, I could see this complete stranger I had invited to our church relax a little more. He was beginning to feel welcome. He started to allow the emotional walls to come down he had put around himself.

Our pastor gave the appeal for people to come forward for prayer. The man stood up and walked forward to the altar. I felt moved by the Holy Spirit to go with him. He was shaking as I put my hand upon his shoulder. With tears streaming down his face he said he was tired of the way he was living. He said, “I want to give up my anger at God for every awful thing that’s happened in my life. ”

As my eyes met his I said, “You can do that right now by asking Christ into your life. I don’t believe it’s by coincidence you came here today. This is your God appointment. My friend, Christ wants to free you from your prison of anger. Will you let Him come into your life right now?”

He told me he was sorry for all of his sins.

I prayed with him that he would be saved. Suddenly, the shaking of the man’s body stopped. The battle was over. He was saved.

He smiled at me as he said, “I’m not an outsider anymore.”

About Dr. Kevin Osborne B.A., B.Th., M.A., M.Div., Psy.D., Th.D. (Cand.)

I enjoy spending time with people just having a coffee or talking about life, philosophy, religion, politics or sharing a favorite joke or story. We learn from one another as we interact and share our joys, challenges and even our times of sadness. I enjoy reading, writing, singing and sharing in the blessing of community whether that is one on one or in groups. I'm married and am powned by two kitties named Sir William of Lounge a.k.a. Sir Lounge a Lot and Princess Catherine of Chaos a.k.a. Her Royal Highness Catherine of Englehart. Two years ago I completed my Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.) through St. James the Elder University. On Sept. 26th 2020, I graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Canadian Christian Theological Seminary. These journeys were started over 20 years ago. In 1997 I received a Bachelor of Theology degree from Canada Christian College & Graduate School. Between working and studying it took 13 years to finish it. Let us pray for and reach out to each other with kindness, love and an embracing compassion. We can working together be servants with two open hands to those in need so that hate, indifference and inequality would lose and love will win. The peace and abounding joy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Posted on October 29, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. This is such a beautiful story.

  2. What an amazing story. You’re absolutely right. Christ would not have turned him away and I’m glad your church didn’t either.

    • I have put a disclaimer note that the story is based on a series of life observations. All of the events I describe did happen, but not exactly in the way I write about them. While the story itself is fictional these things do in fact occur. I know this because I have observed many of these situations.

      You are right in saying that Christ would not have turned this man away. Sadly, I’ve seen many people ostracized by church congregation members because they were deemed to be different. I know a woman who was snubbed at a church I attended, because she dressed in a manner that was more the mode of being a southern belle.

      Another man was told to leave a church because he was one of those street bums. If he didn’t leave the church member said he would call the police. Where was this Christian’s love for the whosoever?

      I saw this happen before my eyes. What was eveb worse is he sought to justify hating a man, who had come simply asking to get in out of the cold for a while. I will never forget the church member saying to this hurting soul who was causing no harm, “Get out or I’ll call the police!”

      I challenged him on his judgmental behaviour. I told him that we are called by Christ to be a people of love, not judgment.

      I agreed if the man became violent in any way he should call the police, but this man wasn’t hurting anyone.

      I honestly thought because of the way I wrote about these situations people would think it was fictitious, but would identify with the reality of them. That’s a lesson for me that the writing my Lord has me doing even when fictitious has its own realism. Future fictitious stories will have the disclaimer that the story is not real. I apologize if you felt you were led to believe this was a real story.



      • Thanks for the disclaimer. I don’t think it matters as much if the story is real. It’s like the way I read the Bible. I don’t think so much about the literalness of it, but what it’s teaching me. Keep up your inspirational writing!

  3. A lovely story. And that is what we should always do, love and accept. Thank you for your post.

  4. This is a really good story! Having faith and not having deeds, it’s like not having faith at all. We ought to LIVE our faith. God Bless! 🙂

  5. Thanks for liking my post…your story still happens today. We get to witness many transformations of lives once steeped in sin because of the Christ’s finished work.

    • You’re welcome. Yes, the story still does happen. To God be the glory for a transformed life. If a fellow I knew belonging to a gang became a minister and a Canadian Armed Forces chaplain, there is no limit to what Christ’s atoning work on the Cross can do for a searching soul.



  6. This story touched my heart. So many people are craving for someone to take an interest, to point them to Jesus. What a blessing it was for you to lead this man to Christ.

  7. Hi Rose

    Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to offer such an encouraging comment! Yes, it was a joy serving my Father in leading this man to Christ along with others.

    Many people think they need to take several courses in evangelism and theology to be an effective witness for Christ. While this does give us tools I have used what God really wants is our availability to be open, learn and grow closer to Him. In that maturing process we become students in the seminary of Christ’s compassion as He brings the people and the situations that train us to listen with our hearts to what our Father is saying to us.

    God doesn’t call us to be a Billy Graham or a John Stott. All He ever asks is that we would be willing to be used for His honour and His glory.

    My wife, Karen and I, look forward to getting to know you more as time goes on.

    Know that any time you feel a need to reach out to us we will be there for you.

    Rose, I pray for the river of God’s richest blessings to flow into every area of your life.


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