THE SHEPHERD’S CORNER
This week another tragedy struck America. A 19-year-old former student came back to the school that had expelled him, killed 17 and injured dozens of others. I cannot even begin to imagine how the parents of these children must have felt when they learned that their loved ones were among the dead. Evil had prevailed in the dark soul of Nikolas Cruz, driving him to lash out his pain and anger.
When I read his name, I could not help but remember someone else whose name bears resemblance to this shooter’s name, Nicky Cruz. This Nicky Cruz is a Christian evangelist. Unlike Nikolas Cruz who lived in an affluent part of Florida, Nicky Cruz grew up in a poor section of Puerto Rico. Instead of loved, he was emotionally abused by his parents. Even his mother used to call him, Son of Satan.
At age 15 he moved to New York City to live with his brother, but it didn’t last long. He moved out and lived on the street and later joined a notorious street gang called, the Mau Mau. He rose through the ranks and became the gang leader. One day David Wilkerson, an evangelist, came and shared the gospel with Nicky Cruz. He told Cruz, “Jesus loves you and He will never stop loving you.” In response, Cruz slapped him and threatened to kill him.
But, Wilkerson didn’t give up; he kept coming. One day when Wilkerson held a revival meeting, he invited Nicky. It was then he repented. After his conversion, he went to Bible school and became an evangelist. He returned to the street of New York and shared the Gospel with his former gang members. Many came to Christ.
Similar names, similar souls—very dark, but different outcomes. It is the name of Jesus which made the difference.