On Friday Todd and I boarded the bus back to Tallinn. Our bus window overlooked the window of a cafeteria in the bus terminal building. Below some of the tables, we observed three men sleeping on the floor. They looked homeless and they looked drunk. Their hair was matted and their clothes looked like they hadn’t been washed in a long time. We watched from our seats, along with others on our side of the bus, as the drama unfolded. The police moved in to rouse them and remove them from the premises. The police were professional and without brute force worked to get them on their feet. It was apparent that they were inebriated as they stood, unsteady on their feet, in filthy clothes.

As we watched the scene play out, it was tempting to judge the worth of these men. In front of us were men who had lost hope, seeking solace in alcohol. In most people’s eyes they were non-redeemable.

A voice inside reminded me that God loves them every bit as much as he loves me and his desire for me as well as these men was redemption.

At that moment I remembered Brennan Manning’s story of how for years he struggled with out of control alcoholism to the point of being found in a gutter almost dead. Now a successful author and speaker, it is easy to listen to his story and agree that he is socially redeemed and a valuable member of the spiritual community. He heralds the powerful grace of God to redeem anyone. His books have had a powerful influence on me as I have attempted to plumb the depths of the Father’s love for me.

As I was tempted to be judgmental, that same voice reminded me that any one of the staggering men I was looking at through the bus window, could be another Brennan Manning. I was reminded that all three men were God’s children and as valued by God, as I was, as anyone on the bus was, or in the whole town of Tartu. I was prompted to pray for them, that they would be able to receive the redeeming love of God.

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