Smoking – because I care!

smokersEarlier today I visited the local chemist to pick up some scripts for drugs I’m taking. Pretty normal really. But the conversations I had out on the street, while I was waiting, weren’t! I spoke with four different guys, each of them were smoking, and the conversations went something like this…

Me… Hey mate, there’s a good chance you’ll get lung cancer if you keep smoking.

Him… (Smiles at me and keeps smoking)

Me… It’s true you know

Him… Yeah, I know

Me… I’ve got lung cancer and I can tell you it’s not much fun

Him… Yeah?

Me… You don’t know whether to believe me, do you?

Him… (Shrugs)

Me… It’s true. You want to see my scars?

Him… (Shrugs)

Me… (I lift up my shirt on the left side to reveal 3 rather ugly scars around my ribs) They had to stick tubes in me to drain out all the litres of fluid from round my lungs. You know, it’s a good idea to give up.

Him… Yeah, I know.

Me… I know it’s hard, but you should try. Start now, it’s worth it.

Him… Did you give up smoking?

Me… Mate, I didn’t smoke and I still got lung cancer!

Him… Yeah?! Have you got rid of it?

Me… Mate, I might never get rid of it. They can’t cut it out, and I’ve got to keep on chemo.

Him… Yeah?!

Me… So give it a shot, eh? It’s worth trying to give up now.

Him… Yeah, thanks mate. And hey, good luck eh!

Then, back in the chemist, picking up my scripts, I say “I understand you guys help people to quit smoking.” To which the pharmacist replies, “Yeah, that’s right.” And I say, “Well, there’s three guys outside smoking right now. You could help them!”

A strange urge

I’ve developed a strange urge this year. It hits me every time I see someone smoking. I feel like going over to them and asking them to give up – to quit. I’m seriously tempted to take off my shirt, show them the scars on my side, and let them know that lung cancer is no fun at all (even though mine isn’t from smoking). But you know what? I don’t! I just turn away and keep on going. The problem is I’m gutless!

I have another urge, a deeper urge. Every time one of my friends shows a disinterest in God or dismisses Christianity, I feel like pleading with them check it out – to reconsider. I want to point to the scars on Jesus’ hands, the wounds in his side, and let them know that God offers each of us a fresh start because of Jesus’ crucifixion. The consequences of rejecting God are serious, but I want to speak of the love of God, his offer of forgiveness, and his promise of life beyond death. But you guessed it! Too often I say nothing at all. I just ignore the issue and continue as though it doesn’t really matter. Let me apologise for being gutless! Seriously, let’s talk.