William Booth And The Drunk

Jul 22, 2016, 7:50 PM |

by HJS

William Booth, who founded the Salvation Army, didn't fit the mold. He went after the street people who didn't fit in regular churches: drunks, prostitutes and the destitute. He would take to the street and share the Gospel. This did not endear him to the hearts of some of the people who had thought they would have a nice quiet evening drinking in the pub.

On one occasion Booth picked one of the worst streets in London. In front of the swinging doors of the old English pub, he began preaching. One drunk flung an empty bottle at Booth. Stunned by the blow, Booth wiped away blood from a head wound with his hand. Then he looked at his attacker and responded, "God bless you and God forgive you, brother." That was it. No curse for curses - just a blessing.

In amazement, the man turned and walked back into the pub. Nothing else happened that night.

A number of years later, Booth was invited to the same area to dedicate a new Salvation Army facility. In his remarks that evening, Booth recalled the incident that place in the same neighborhood a few years before. Booth had no sooner related the story when a man, hair white with age, approached Booth. "What do you want, brother?" asked Booth. "I want you to shake the hand that threw that bottle," the man replied. As Booth stood there, at a loss for words, the man opened his coat and beneath it was a Salvation Army uniform.

The gentleness that Booth demonstrated is still the kind of stuff Salvation Army lads and lassies use to confront the needs of the world.


A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  PROVERBS 15:1