Their words flew across the space like daggers that penetrated everyone’s skin, even though only one was the intended recipient. Two girls, leaning out from the bus door to scream at a man not far away. “You’re a junkie!” one cried, “Go stick a needle in your arm and just die!” she commanded, with expletives every second breath. The man rushed closer at that, the words seeming to strike too close to a nerve. He snapped. He was at least double the weight of the girl and picked her up like a rag doll, throwing her to the ground.
She kicked and continued to scream at him, but he did not relent. He tried to hold her down, pulling his fist back as his other arm braced her against the concrete of the bus stop. The second girl tried to help, but he pushed her away and she didn’t seem committed enough to the cause to step into harms way.
The bus door closed; the driver let out a sigh of relief to be leaving this horrible moment, but I could not tear my eyes away from what was happening. My heart beat fast, even though I was safe on the bus.
The man’s fist drew back as the girl’s feet connected with his chest. Just as he was about to strike, a man and his girlfriend sprinted over and suddenly, the girl on the ground and the man that had held her were flung apart by strong arms.
I don’t know what happened next. The bus slinked around the corner in a stunned silence, but I can’t shake the images from my mind. I’ve seen them before from a distance, but never so close that I could feel the weight of the words, and hear the scrapes of skin against concrete.
This is the world we live in, and it is more than broken. I often use brokenness as a pretty little euphemism for sin but somehow it doesn’t feel like enough today. The world is shattered and torn and so sinful that a man can throw a woman to the ground in public, and some people barely flinch.
All the way home, I couldn’t stop thinking, “this place needs Jesus.” and I don’t mean that in a trite way.Sometimes I feel like we speak of Jesus like a superhero who swoops in at the darkest hour and delivers Bibles, clean shirts and good morals. But that isn’t what I’m talking about. I don’t mean that they need good morals. I mean that they need the God who reaches into the crap that we’ve created and takes it all on his shoulders so that we could know grace and freedom. I mean, they need the man who took on all our sins so that we could know love.
We need grace.
We need hope.
We need Jesus.