This won’t be the most eloquent blog I’ve ever written, but I believe it is one of the most heart-felt. I hate the fact that I’m even writing it.
That being said, with everything that I’ve read and everything I’ve seen in the news over the past year, it has become difficult for anyone to say or do anything that shocks me. As a born-again follower of Jesus Christ, I thought the world had ceased to amaze me, including many so-called Christians.
A recent conversation with a family member, however, upset that trend. And, what they had to say was very disheartening. I’ll call this family member “Alice.”
Just a little background first. Alice comes from a Catholic background–as I did–and she has confessed Jesus as Lord. She often has asked me to pray for family members and we’ve had numerous conversations about Jesus and the Bible, so I thought we were of the same mind concerning this area.
On this day, however, somehow Alice and I got into a conversation about same-sex marriage. She told me that she didn’t see how anyone could be a part of that. Great, we ARE on the same wavelength–or so I thought.
But somehow the conversation turned to the Bible, and I quickly chimed in how I believed the Bible was the infallible Word of God. Alice then proceeded to inform me that the Bible was not indeed infallible because it was written by men. She said the parables were a perfect example.
My jaw nearly hit the floor. First of all, the parables were orated by Jesus, not by men. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that. I thought she was more well versed in the Bible than that.
“So,” I said, “you don’t believe everything in the Bible is true?”
“Not everything,” Alice said. “You are entitled to interpret the Bible the way you see it. It can be quite confusing seeing how it has been written in many different ways and interpreted in many different ways. It doesn’t make anyone person less of a Christian if they are all following Jesus and striving to live like he did.”
Alice then proceeded to inform me that none of her three children believed in Jesus, that they were all atheists. That was something else that shocked me. I thought two of the three were believers. “Wow,” I thought, “I don’t know this family at all, do I?”
So, Alice’s statement above confuses me. Does she think that anyone who strives to live like Jesus is no less a Christian? I believe it was Cistercian abbot Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153) that said, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
I then made an error in judgment with Alice. The tone of my voice and my attitude turned cold and un-Christlike
I told her that all of her children will wind up in hell if they don’t confess Jesus as their savior. I referred her to the basics of Christianity, John 3:16-18, which says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (MEV).
I told her that she needed to intercede in prayer for her children. She told me that wasn’t necessary.
Alice said she didn’t believe in a God that would condemn anyone to hell like that. So, she believes that God won’t “condemn” her children to hell simply because he’s a sympathetic God. So, John 3:18, in her opinion, is erroneous.
My first thought after hearing that was simply, “Oh, no. Wow.”
Yes, Alice, He is a sympathetic God. But, He is also a just God and they have the opportunity to accept Him. If they continue to reject Him, they have set their destiny for themselves, and it’s not a pleasant one. I cannot apologize for the truth, but I did ask for forgiveness for the un-Christlike manner in which I delivered the statement.
With family, this is something I haven’t had to deal with for quite some time. I thought all of mine and most of my wife’s family members were saved. Now, I know that I have to intercede big time on their behalf in prayer. It’s their only chance.
Does anyone else have a story like this? Do you know someone that simply refuses to hear and accept the truth about Jesus and the Bible? Are you interceding in prayer for them every day? I’d love to hear your story. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pray with you.
Remember, intercessory prayer works. God hears your cries, so don’t give up. “And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, MEV).
And as I always like to say, “there is that.” God bless.
Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup For the Soul. You can read his blog here.