I just had a very interesting conversation with my 20 year old daughter. We were discussing faith and Christ’s free gift of salvation. Great topics to discuss with your kids, but as we talked I was surprised to see she was getting sadder and sadder. I’m blathering on about how Jesus loves everyone and doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but she got upset. I talked about how there is no pre-requisite and how all people get the same message of love. Good and bad, white, black and every other color under the rainbow all are loved equally. And speaking of rainbows, God loves gay people and straight people and everyone in between. I suspected this was a big deal for her since she has friends who are gay, lesbian and transgender so I wanted to make sure I included them in the conversation. And she became sadder still. I trotted out my “you can’t out-sin God’s love” speech. Nothing. I went back to “God gives everyone a chance to accept Christ’s free gift of salvation”. Worse than nothing. I didn’t get it. I was saying all the right stuff. In fact I was brilliant. You could almost get saved on my enthusiasm alone. What was going on here?
Finally, in a state of total bewilderment I did two things I don’t normally do. I shut up and I listened. And this is what I heard her say (paraphrased). “I’ve heard it all before. I’ve heard the church say all this stuff. I’ve also heard the church say that you are going to hell if you don’t look like “us”… or act like us, or believe like us, or sing like us, or. . . . ” She said she don’t trust mankind. She want to hear it from God’s own lips. In fact she said she couldn’t believe that God would create all these great people and then just toss them all in hell because they didn’t believe like we did.
I mean what do you say to something like that? I realized a couple of things. The first was that no amount of blabbing on my part would bring the peace which passes understanding. That is the exclusive realm of the Holy Spirit and I should spend a great deal more time listening to His instruction and less time trying to be his press secretary.
Second, she was in tears over the fact that her friends were in danger. When was the last time I anguished over unsaved friends and family? When was the last time my heart broke for someone other than myself? I mean, rather than dismiss my words as just more Jesus junk it was making her sad for her friends. Wow!
I want a heart like that. I want it to leap for joy when my friends and neighbors know God personally. And I want it to break when they don’t.
I don’t think anything every got “fixed” from our conversation, but I do know and believe this. God not only gives everyone a chance at salvation, he gives everyone an equal chance. If you were raised in church and have heard all the bible stories you will get the same opportunity to believe that someone who is raised in a place where it is dangerous, or deadly to believe. And the reason we all get the same shot is that the message doesn’t come through us preaching away at the “rest of the world”. It comes from the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, meeting us right where we are. He will break through all the clutter and baggage in our lives and speak to our heart. Your country of origin, your race, your orientation, your sex, your goodness (or badness as the case may be) will not hinder his voice from inviting you to accept the free gift of his salvation. He will find you where ever you are – in your room, in a bar, in a church, in a mosque, in your cell, on your yacht, at Disneyland, on a battlefield, it doesn’t matter. And when he does he will ask you one question: will you accept the gift Christ offers you? And he will cut through all the clutter and white noise of our live, so the message will be clear and concise. And we will have no doubt about what is being asked and by whom.
Then its up to us to decide. God wants everyone to live with him forever. No one is beyond redemption. I know its been over used, but no truer words were ever spoken: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that WHOEVER believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Bottom line: Everyone will be called, but everyone is free to walk away. We are not God’s finger puppets to do his bidding. We are free beings designed to think, feel and make our own choices. But please remember, while you are free to choose, the consequences are dire. I pray we will all listen to that voice and consider carefully. It means everything.
Listen for a whisper and
Eric – TheGodBlogger