Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Relief Or Responsibility - Wondering about the motive of an argument

Way back in the days of 2009, I worked at an assisted living home. I didn't make a lot of noise about my faith, but if you talk with me long enough, you'll learn what I believe. Sometimes the residents and co-workers would ask me questions and I would readily answer them.

Once, a girl in the activities department asked me, "Do you think Jesus is the only way to go to heaven? What about people who won't have the chance to hear about Him? Do you think God is just going to send them to Hell?"

If you ask me this question because you want to know what I really think, then I will say this: Yes. Jesus is the only way. Scripture leaves no room for discussion on this. In John 14:6, Jesus, who is God, said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." 

I thought about my conversation with my co-worker the other day and realized something. I had never considered her motive for asking this question. At the time, I recited the verses and explained the theology to her. But I didn't take the time to look through her question to see the reason why she asked it in the first place. 

It's a common enough question, to ask about those who won't hear the gospel. I wonder if people ask because they knowingly or unknowingly want the conversation to stay abstract or hypothetical. Maybe they don't want to talk about where they stand with Jesus and use this as a diversion, sort of like people who want advice for "their friend" who "has a problem". 

Do people ask this question because they want me to tell them it's okay to not follow Jesus? That all is not lost if they don't want to follow Him? Are they looking for relief from their conscience and want me to give it to them? I couldn't say it. I can't. I won't deny or diminish Jesus to make people feel more comfortable or make myself more likable. 

Whether it applies to my friends or strangers who haven't heard the gospel, I think these questions should constantly remind me of my responsibility to tell them about Jesus. If I really believe the Bible is true and Jesus is the only way, what keeps me from sharing the gospel? I may be quick to answer a question, but I'm not so quick to bring up the topic outright. 

Do you find yourself asking those questions about Jesus? Or are you like me, sure in your faith but aware of your shortcomings in sharing it?


Lindsey Renee said...

I might be wrong, but I think one of the biggest fears of our generation is being "preachy." We don't want to turn people off by HOW we present the message and we're so self-conscious about it that we often don't present the message at all. I think there is something to be said for waiting for the right moment and the right conversation but we just can't always be waiting.

For me, it's hard to share some of the things that I know might shut people down. Like that Jesus is THE way. Around other Christians it isn't a problem. But I sympathize with a lot of atheists. A lot of them have very sad misconceptions about God, like deep down they think He's a cruel, asshole. I want them so badly to know God's goodness and once they learn that to understand that it is has some necessary harshness. The older I get, the more God teaches me how to talk to people about him more holistically.

Isaiah Kallman said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Lindsey. Instead of writing a response to this, I wrote a whole post.