Yesterday as I scrolled down my Facebook newsfeed, a name caught my eye among the typically random people that the network suggests as "people you may know". I won't name the name and some of you who have known me for a long time might even catch on to who I'm talking about.
There he was, much older looking than I remember him, with a cigarette pursed between his lips. My mind flooded with the memory of a day during my high school years when I was riding with my boys. A couple of fellas we had heard were talking trash about us were walking down the street, this guy was one of them. As we approached them they threw their hands in the air as if to invite us to settle it. Another afternoon of throwing blows in the street. We had nothing we thought was worth living for but even the most petty things were worth fighting for.
We whipped our rides onto the shoulder of the road and piled out into the street. I came nose to nose with the fella in the picture. I was told later that at the time he held his knife firmly near my back. I had no idea how close I was to death in the moment. To this day I don't know why he didn't stab me. The adrenaline took over and I don't remember our fight at all. All I remember is there was a lot of blood, one of my boys had a tire iron, another guy had a chain and the two guys we had pulled over to scuffle with had gotten the short end of the stick. We drove away with some torn and dirty clothes but other than that we were unharmed.
I came close to death in that street and I also came close to taking another life. To make matters worse, I didn't care. I thought that making a name for myself in the streets is what life was all about and I wasn't the only one who thought this way. We were legion and we all thought we had to be hard just to stay alive. Truth is, we had no idea what life was. We were slaves serving death as our master.
As I look at that picture and remember those days I wonder if we could ever be "friends". Even the shallow social-media-only type. I figure its probably not worth clicking the icon that invites him to be my friend and make myself vulnerable to rejection. I mean, we tried to beat each other to death in the streets. Why should I be his friend? What should he be my friend?
Then I remember that Christ calls me friend. I figure if there is room in heaven for a guy like me then there is room in heaven for anyone, even someone who literally put a knife to my back.
So I click the "add friend" icon. A little "plus" sign that resembles a cross. It's fitting because without a cross there would be no hope for such a friendship. We stand a much better chance of being friends now because the old me died on a cross 2000 years ago with my savior. Maybe he will accept, maybe he won't. Either way I'm thankful because he reminded me of who I am and who I once was. I hope that The Lord would grant him to be able to say the same.