Friday, March 20, 2009

What kind of guts do you have??

First off, let me apologize for side-stepping my last Ethiopia day log - but sometimes, and very often, things just eat at me until I finally give in and write them out. Let me also start off by NOT apologizing for anyone who gets offended by this blog. Uh-oh.

Recently one of my Christian sisters and I were talking about believers vs. unbelievers and about how upset we get and how personal we take it when we are unable to 'talk' an unbeliever out of Hell. And it got my mind racing with all the stories, emails, and quotes I have received in the past that just seem to stick with me.

Let me start with an email I got about 10 years back. At the time, I had a very close friend who I loved dearly, but who also was very worldly. In that, she didn't want to even think about the next world as she had enough to deal with in this one. She believed in a god, but didn't see a real reason to have a close relationship, or a binding relationship, with Christianity. Once in a while church attendance should earn her a few points anyway. She was good, no worries. About that time, I got an email with the following little story which my memory says went something like this:

- "I wanted to tell you about my savior. I wanted to warn you of the price of rejecting him. But I was too scared, too embarrassed, too much of a good friend to beat you over the head with my Bible. We shared laughs, we shared coffee, we shared memories - but I never shared with you the only way to be saved of an eternity of misery."
- "I'm going to tell you today. I'm going to talk about the way to Heaven. I'm going to speak up and try to lead you to the love of Christ and tell you about how He died for YOU. How all you have to do is receive His gift. How your being good is not good enough. I need to be a good friend to you."
- "I couldn't tell you today. Today you were killed on the way over in a car accident. I loved your friendship so much. Why couldn't I tell you? Why did we share coffee, and memories, and laughs - but I didn't care enough to tell you how to escape an eternity of misery."
-" I will always remember how much of a good friend I was not...."

I let that opportunity with MY friend go. We are no longer close so I really don't think she would listen to me now. I had the relationship but I failed when I had the greatest chance of having her listen. I'm hoping that God saw fit to see what little seed I may have lazily planted and is busy watering it..

Another email that sticks out is :

- You are driving down the road and you come upon a truck that is on fire. You run to the truck but the cab is engulfed in flames. The driver inside is screaming for help, dying in pain. You try to get to him but the flames and the heat are just too intense. You stand there in tears and listen to his cries, which eventually are silenced. The couple minutes that he suffered immensely took forever in your mind. Now if you could not bare the thought of seeing a total stranger suffer through several minutes of intense pain, which could be eventually, and mercifully, ended by death - how can you look the other way when your friends or family members are in the cab of that truck and destined for an eternity of the same unbearable pain and anguish with no relief??

Stories and emails like that bother us. We don't want to think about it. Just another Christian wacko trying to scare us into Heaven. But it is not about hell-fire and damnation sermons. It is about love - the love that we profess we have for others but then stop short of. Christ's love is the ONLY thing that can save us from that fire. And yet we don't want to embarrass ourselves, put ourselves in awkward situations, cause friction - so we wait until tomorrow, or the next day, or never - to talk to them. Because life is good, all is well, we're alright. Right??

I also have found some wonderful quotes by men much more spiritual and educated than I:

"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will persih, let them perish with our arms about their knees." C.H. Spurgeon

"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that." C.H. Spurgeon

"The Lord often permits Christians to be despised or rejected by the world, that being liberated and cleansed from its pollution, we may cultivate holiness. We must love those who do not love God, but conforming ourselves to their standards for their approval and acceptance is disastrous." John Calvin

"If I do not believe in my heart (how God saved me from hell) – believe them so that they are real in my feelings – then the blessed love of God in Christ will scarcely shine at all. The sweetness of the air of redemption will be hardly detectable. The infinite marvel of my new life will be commonplace. The wonder that to me, a child of hell, all things are given for an inheritance will not strike me speechless with trembling humility and lowly gratitude. The whole affair of salvation will seem ho-hum, and my entrance into paradise will seem as a matter of course. When the heart no longer feels the truth of hell, the gospel passes from good news to simply news. The intensity of joy is blunted and the heart-spring of love is dried up." John Piper

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Jesus - (Matthew 24).

"You did not chose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last." Jesus - (John 15).

This post is as much for me as it is for you. What are we waiting for? The perfect conversation. The perfect day. The perfect person. If God has given you a relationship with a person, He has put you there for a reason and a time, and it is not to share recipes or sports scores with. We do not know what day, what time, what hour Christ may one day chose to say "That's IT!! Enough chances!!" - do we have the guts to speak up, or the guts to do nothing and disobey the Lord we say we belong to??? Just something to make you think...

1 comment:

Meghan said...

AMEN! It still upsets me that the people that are the hardest to talk to about this most important topic is my own family. It's sad I know...I can talk about ANYTHING else no problem. :-(