Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sharing the Good News

As I write this, I'm sitting in the office of one of my friends in ministry.  He's not here right now, so I figured I'd commendeer his computer and do my job (with his permission... apparently his "eye health" is more important than our friendship).

One of the things that strikes me, however, is how he and I have grown to trust each other in the eight short months that I've been here.  We share stories and victories and pains.  We're confidants and ministers and encouragers.  We're friends.  When I do good things, I expect to hear from him.  But flip it around.  When I do bad things, I expect to hear from him.  When there's an issue in my life, when I'm discouraged, when I'm angry, he's able to call me on it.  I'd do the same for him as well.

It's a very simple concept really... we put our trust in the people we know best.  We share our hearts, our dreams, our desires, our weaknesses, our struggles, our depressions with those that we know and love the most.  It's the natural human condition.

I suppose that's why pictures like this confuse me so much:

Ok, perfect picture for my purposes.  First off, don't you really want to meet the ONE drunkard and the ONE general heathen from that sign?  There are potentially millions of of the other categories, but only one of those two.  Poor two people on the face of the planet who struggle alone with drunkeness and... general heatheness?  Huh, that didn't come up on spell check, guess it is a word.

Now, let me ask you, if you were one who actually would identify as a drunkard, fornicator, masturbator, atheist, abortionist, adutlerer, witch, reveler, sodomite, hypocrite, blashphemer, liar, or general heathen, would you be inclined to talk to this man?  To listen to anything he had to say?  I'm a Christian and I don't think I'd really have anything kind to say to him.  There's no relationship there... no trust... nothing but judgement and damnation.

Now look at his sleeve.  The mega-irony would be if that last word was "LOVE" but I think it's "LORD" which would make a lot of sense since a message of love and peace doesn't seem to be portrayed.  Now, it should be noted that Christianity is NOT simply a religion about love and peace, and he's right in that there WILL be judgement, but that judgement is God's, not ours.  The reason that God gets to make those calls is because He *IS* Lord and we are not.  As Lord He called us to live lives holy and pleasing to him and to make disciples for Him.

But He did not call us to hold signs scolding people, unless discipleship looks entirely different than I imagine it to be.  Ok, time to look at that Bible verse.  Hebrews 9:27--

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

Ah!  There we go all questions answered!  People are destined to die and then to face judgement.  Period.

What?  There was no period?  It was a comma?  Well I guess it would be pretty important to read the whole sentence, but surely it's just going to talk about how judgement is the only option awaiting sinners.  Let's see:

27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Oh.  So wait... there's hope?  That seems rather important.  Maybe someone should share that with people instead of just telling them that only Hell awaits them.  Form a relationship... share in life... teach the Good News.

Maybe someone should.  Maybe you should.