Stop the Press: Amazing salvation story in Niddrie!!

Stop the Press: Amazing salvation story in Niddrie!!

I came out from a session with some UCCF students who are spending a fortnight with us. I’d just gotten finished telling them how open the culture is in Niddrie in terms of spiritual conversations and the need for direct and open gospel conversations. ‘People don’t beat around the bush, so just get stuck in,’ I told them.

As soon as a I popped my head into the cafe an older lady shouted me over to her table and said, ‘Hey Mez, I’d like to be one of those Christians. How do I do it, like?’ It smelled like a set up but it really wasn’t. This lady lived down the road and has had a traumatic life. Her brother died young and her mother and father both died suddenly. She battles with addictions, mental health issues and severe depression and wanted to talk to me about ‘Christiany’ things.

I pulled a female student over and I sat at the table and the lady began to pour her heart out.

‘Why do you want to become a Christian.’ I asked.

I dunno. Maybe it will help me and that.’

‘What do you think a “Christian” is?’

‘Somebody who goes to church and prays and sings and that. I like all that crack. They Believe in God and Jesus and that. I believe in God and Jesus and that.’

‘OK. What do you think of when i say the word, “sin” or “sinner”?’

‘Like an alkie (alcoholic) or a junkie or somebody who has sex outside of marriage. something like that.’

‘Do you think that you’re a sinner?’

‘Eh? Nah, I used to be but.’ (most conversations end with the word “but” in Niddrie)

‘Well the Bible says that we’re all sinners, all of the time. What do you think about that?’

‘Erm..I dunno. I used to be a sinner but I don’t do it anymore. I take meds though. I take methadone and some stuff for me bad back and some stuff for me depression. Is that a sin?’

‘No. What do you think God is like?’

‘I dunno. Like big and that.’

‘What do you think of when I say the word, “holy”?’


‘Well it means that God is perfect in every way. He doesn’t like sin and he can’t have sinners in his presence. What do you think about that?’

‘I dunno.’

‘Well being a Christian means that we accept firstly that we are sinners – that we live our lives on our own terms and we generally ignore him – Yeh, we believe he exists but we don’t really pay much attention to Him. He’s sort of a magic person we pray to now and again.That is sin. To live in rebellion against God. Now,  once we can accept that we are in a good place. Can you accept that you’re a sinner?’

‘Ermm. I used to sin. I don’t any more though. Honest. Can you let us into the church and I will show you. I’ve stopped doing the drugs and that.’

‘Well, let’s deal with what God is like first and then we can talk about it. We must understand that because God is holy two things happen. (1) He cannot look upon us. There is a big gap between us and God. There’s no point praying to Him because he is not listening. (2) We will go to hell forever when we die. But, thankfully, there’s some good news. That’s where Jesus comes in. What do you know about Jesus?’

‘Jesus? Oh, I pray to Him and that. He died on the cross for his sins and that and now we get to pray to Him.’

‘Well he died on the cross. But he died on the cross for sinners. He took their place when he died. He took the punishment that sinners deserved. And it is only when we turn to Him in repentance and faith that we can be saved by God. If we trust in Jesus two things happen. (1) we get access to God. So he now hears our prayers and answers them and (2) We get to go to heaven with Him when we die. Do you know what repentance means?’

‘No. But I do pray to Jesus and that.’

‘Repentance means “turning away from”. It means that you say to God: “Yes, I am a sinner and I deserve your punishment, but I want to turn from that way of living (literally turn away from it) and put my faith and trust in Jesus. So, being a Christian is about more than believing in God and Jesus and going to church. It is about recognising your sinfulness, how holy he is and trusting in what Jesus has done for us on the cross. It means walking a new way. Giving your whole live over to God and walking in faith with Jesus every day. Do you still want to become a Christian now?’

‘Yeh. I just feel depressed and that. Like I want to kill myself. I’m just lonely all the time. So I just need to do something about it.’

At this point I called our Women’s Worker over, introduced them and assured the lady that we would love and support her whatever she needed. More importantly, she needed to think these issues through and not just rush to a decision of such great importance.

Here’s the rub. This lady was desperately lonely and she was just looking for a little company. she thought we would love her and accept her more if we would let her come to church to sing some songs and be around people. She was desperate to prove she was worthy to come to our club by showing that ‘she didn’t sin anymore’. How easy it would have been to manipulate this woman in to a ‘decision’ for Jesus, share it in the church prayer meeting, high five one another for ‘another one in the kingdom’ and get out our prayer letters sharing how she was miraculously saved in the cafe this week. Cue delirium in the Christian world. Man, amazing things are happening at Niddrie etc etc.

When all she really wants is to connect with another human being.

Sometimes the opportunities come and we take them and we follow them through immediately. Sometimes, as I believe was right in this case, we have to show a bit of restraint and wisdom. I just wanted to hug this poor woman and let her know that we were going to love her and accept her whatever she did. Man, I hope she comes through. I hope she comes through to genuine repentance and salvation in Christ out of a desire to please the Lord, out of a deep conviction of her sin and not out of a need to be liked, accepted and to get a ‘better’ life.

Pray for us. Pray for our new friend.