Where do you go when your life's been changed? According to Jesus, you go to the hardest place there is to live a changed life --- home.
Jesus and His disciples hopped in a boat and went across the Sea of Galilee to Gadara. They were met by an unwelcoming committee of demons who had taken up residence in a man's life. They didn't want Jesus near their man-hotel. They liked living inside him and enjoyed torturing him. But he didn't like it so much, so he ran toward Jesus for help.
He got what he hoped for. Jesus evicted the unwelcome gang of demonic thugs from the man's life and sent them into a more fitting host --- a herd of pigs.
The man who had terrorized nearby villages with his screams of demonic torture was released of that evil, and the Bible described him as "sitting and clothed and in his right mind" (Mark 5:15).
The people of the village saw the man sitting there like a normal man and it scared them. It seemed they were more afraid of him now than when he acted like a raving lunatic. People untouched by God's grace don't understand it. They don't trust it. They don't know where to put it or what to do with it. They will "amen" a sermon on grace, forgiveness, and restoration, but they will "oh me" someone they know who used to be a hellion and now claims to be permanently altered by that grace.
Some will even pretend to accept such a person with a hug, a handshake, or a wink. Yet, the wink stays permanent and becomes an attitude of --- "I'm keeping my eye on you." Which is another way of saying, "I believe God can change people, but I'm not sure God can change YOU."
The former host of the demonic tormentors knew this. He took one look at the fear and scowls on the faces of his homies and ran to Jesus a second time. This time he was hoping for a ticket on Jesus' boat so he could get far away from his hometown.
"Jesus, can I please go with you? I'm not welcome here. They won't believe that I've changed. I'll always be the ex-maniac here. They'll never trust me or accept me."
Jesus' answer is hard: "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you" (verse 19).
The hardest place to live a changed life is at home. Friends and family are the hardest people to convince that you are a new person. No one knows the old you like they do.
But Jesus knows this... If your family and friends can see a difference in you, then everyone else will, too. If it's real, it can pass even the hardest test.
My friend, the world might forever label you as a former this or that. Take heart. The world doesn't have the last word. God does. His wink is genuine. His embrace is everlasting. His home is yours forever.
He will even give you a job: "Tell them what I've done for you and how I love you."
That's change you can truly believe in!