As promised, today I am addressing the second thing that, based on comments I read on blogs that reviewed the Noah movie, as well as a lifetime spent in the church, which I love with all my heart, Christians really need to stop saying. And that is:
Say whatever you want. On the day of judgement, when you face your God and Creator, we’ll see which one of us is right, won’t we?
(The “na na na na na na” that always follows the expressing of this sentiment is generally silent, but deafening).
Fellow believers, are we actually so desperate to make (or score) a point that we can make light of the fate of another human being’s immortal soul? Do you honestly believe you will be able to enjoy a second of smugness when that person is condemned to an eternity (an eternity! That’s forever, and ever, and ever, without end) separated from everything that is holy and good and light and hope and peace and joy?
I’ll help you out here. When we are all standing in the presence of Almighty God (the one who spoke creation into being and who rules all things, the one who is so magnificent in his full radiant glory that no human being can look upon his face and live) the last, the very, very last thing any of us, on either side, will be is smug.
Jesus Christ came to seek and save those who are lost. If you claim to be a believer, you are a follower of Jesus Christ and your mandate must line up with his. And that mandate is not to beat unbelievers down in an argument, or to taunt them with threats of eternal damnation (although the threat is real and cannot be shied away from), or to rub your hands together in glee at the thought that one day they will see the light and it will be too late for them to do anything about it. Your mandate is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, in words and in actions, and then to fall down on your knees and plead for the salvation of that other person.
Even if they did offer you a snarky comment on someone’s blog that one time.
There is no room in the heart of a person who professes to be a believer for pride or arrogance, for mockery, for sarcasm, for gleefulness, for coldness, for hardness, for smugness or for reveling in the fate of those who continue to reject Jesus Christ.
The only godly response is for our hearts to break—even to shatter—at the thought that any should be condemned to an eternity apart from Him.
I need to work on this. There is, in all of us, an innate desire for justice and the urge to demand that we see that justice done here and now. There have been moments I have felt something almost like consolation at the idea that a person who has hurt me deeply, or who has been so hand-wringingly, teeth-grindingly, beyond-all-belief arrogant and mocking online will one day “get theirs”. (Incidentally, most people are too cowardly to be that way in person, but a pen name or, worse, the word Anonymous, serves as a kind of “virtual white hood,” removing normal societal restraints of courtesy, decency, and empathy.)
It’s a natural response. It’s a human response. Which is precisely the problem. We, and all mankind, would be far better served if we took on the attitude of Christ. The one who prayed for forgiveness for those who crucified him even as he hung on the cross dying.
I can’t say anyone has ever offended me more deeply than that.
So can my response be any less?
Press on, my friends. Press on,