“Come down from there! Hey! Hey! Come down from there!”
I have heard that so many times, I’ve lost count. Whenever we preach on some type of elevated platform, inevitably, some offended listener tries to push their weight around by demanding, even yelling, that we stop preaching our message and climb down, and act like a normal person. Our standing operating policy is to just ignore the person, anticipating that they will just go away, so that we can continue with our message.
But we couldn’t avoid “Mr. Big” as we stop light preached atop a mobile construction-type sign, across from the Staples Center before Game 3 of the Lakers Finals.
The crowds were huge one half hour before game time at the corner of 11th and Figueroa
In fact, there were so many people crossing, and so much traffic, we were forced to use a very loud portable sound system to reach the teeming Hellbound masses.
Mr. Big apparently didn’t like it. He shouted at me to stop.
I ignored him.
He shouted again.
I ignored him again.
He tugged on my shirt. Then he pulled on my shirt.
Then he grabbed me by my shirt and pulled me down to the ground—a three foot drop!
I was stunned. No one had ever done that before! “I told you to come down!” Mr. Big warned.
After a few words were exchanged between the two of us, we shook hands and parted ways.
The great temptation when things go wrong is to take things personally. When that happens, things can go very badly. I have never been physically accosted before and was very surprised at the anger that welled up inside of me. In the next few years, persecution of one type or another will probably be the norm, so the prudent evangelist will do well to flee to another place where the preaching might afford better, and safer, opportunities.
R.A. Torrey said this in regard to some of the “Don’ts” of open air preaching over a hundred years ago:
Don’t lose your temper. Whatever happens, never lose your temper. You ought never to get angry under any circumstances, but it is especially foolish to do so when you are holding an openair meeting. You will doubtless have many temptations to lose your temper, but never do it. It is very hard to hit a man when he is serene, and if you preserve your serenity, the chances are that you will escape unscathed. Even if a tough strikes you, he cannot do so a second time if you remain calm. Serenity is one of the best safeguards.
Don’t fight. Never fight under any circumstances. Even if they almost pound the life out of you, refuse to fight back. (Read part 3 here!