By Luis C. Rodriguez
It was a Saturday morning, but it could have been any morning. A night out drinking, smoking, shooting pool, laughing. Now a terrible hangover.
I hurt inside. And I could see that I was hurting the people I loved and the God who had saved me. This was painful-to think that though I was a Christian I was doing this.
My friends didn’t know that I was a Christian. When they looked at me all they saw was a drinking buddy. Keeping my mouth shut was the easiest thing to do. I just couldn’t tell my friends that I had accepted the gift of eternal life. I wanted to tell them; yet I was afraid how they’d react.
The place where we all hung out was City Park, south of downtown Dallas. We called it “City.” It was about four blocks long north to south and two blocks wide east to west. It had a clubhouse in the middle, a basketball court, and, down a small incline, a swimming pool. Our favorite place to drink was in a low area by the pool which we called “the hole.” However, we didn’t confine our drinking there. We drank all over City.
One day some of the guys at City said, “The preacher is trying to save some of us. He may have saved Ramon already.” I could barely keep quiet-but I did. I knew the preacher. He had led me to faith in Christ. I knew that he could not save anyone. But how could I tell my friends this? I was their drinking buddy! I wanted to tell them that Zane couldn’t save them but that Christ could. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Fear of rejection sealed my silence.
My life as a teenager was filled with drinking and run ins with the Law. Three times in one week I was thrown into jail for minor violations. Even so, even in my worst moments I knew that I was a child of God.
One day about six or seven of us were outside Zane’s house. Again one of the guys was saying, “He’s got one of the boys inside and he’s going to save him.” Finally I couldn’t take it any more.
“Look,” I said. “Zane can’t save anybody. Only Christ can do that. Somewhere in the Bible it says that if you hear His Word and believe on Him that you have eternal life.”
“How do you know that? Did he save you too?” someone asked.
“No! Zane did not save me. I already told you that he can’t save anyone. But he did show me how I could know Christ as my Savior. And he can show you too.”
At last! My friends now knew that I was a Christian. It felt great to let others know of my salvation.
It would be a long time before I would walk with Christ. Eventually I learned that when I would stop grieving God (Eph. 4:30) I would also stop hurting inside (Gal. 5:22-23). And that would sure make a big difference on Saturday mornings.
Luis Rodriguez is a member of the GES board and a pastor of Victor Street Bible Chapel in Dallas. The preacher referred to in the story, Zane, is Luis’ partner in ministry, Zane Hodges. For a fuller account of Luis’ stirring testimony see Here Walks My Enemy: The Story of Luis (Redención Viva Publishing Co., P.O. Box 141167, Dallas, TX 75214).