Since you seem to have a problem with much of what I believe,
Do you believe “Yes, I do believe there is a Supreme Being of some sort.” Do you believe there is life after this one? “There very well could be. I can’t imagine God creating man for this short, pitifu]]> Do you believe He will have some standard of conduct that a person must meet]]> “Yes, I do believe God wi]]> And has He told us what that standard is? “I do believe we have]]> Something like the Ten Commandments? “Yes, something like that.” And have you kept these rules? “No. Not totally.” Do you think anyone keeps them all. “Not really.”
So what happens now? Does God ignore the sin or make you pay for it? In other words, how do you get passed this problem? “I believe God forgives.” That’s nice. Does He have any requirement for forgiveness? “I think He expects us to really be sorry and to try not to do it again.” But isn’t that a big part of the problem, we do keep doing the same things. Whatever our “weakness” is continues to be our weakness. What then? “I think God is long-suffering and very forgiving because He is love.”
Do you think He expects you to pay a price for your sin? “We pay for a lot of our sins here on earth.” But that’s the natural consequence of the sin. Does God require anything? “Yes, I do think He expects us to do good things and to live a good life.” Is it like a big scale where we try to get the good to out weigh the bad? “Not really. We should just try to help people and be a good person.”
What if a person is really bad for a long time and doesn’t have enough time left by the time he repents to do much good before he dies. “I think God accepts his repentance and gives him a break.” What if he raped or murdered someone? If he did something horrific? “Some people do go too far.” But what if he was sexually assaulted and abused as a child; if he was treated in such a way to psychologically damage him? “He should still know better.” But doesn’t it take some time for him to heal and to turn his thinking around? I mean some abuse starts so young and is so terrible it clouds that person’s judgement maybe for the rest of their lives, but it really wasn’t their fault. “There are some things only God can know. I trust His judgment on who to accept and who not to. He does love everybody and doesn’t want to condemn anyone.” Kind of like the Bible says, “whosoever may come”? ‘Ya, kind of like that.”
What is the price of sin? “Some people say it is hell and there probably is such a place.” But nobody much goes there? “Ya.” Not people like you? “Ya.” What if God found it too difficult to separate what is whose fault and wanted to just pay the price of sin Himself? “He’s God, He can do whatever He wants.” If He did, who would He get to pay it? “I thought you said God would pay it. No man could pay it because he owes the debt himself. He couldn’t pay for someone else. Only God could do that.” O.K. Say God pays the debt Himself. Is He going to require anything from the people He forgives? Or will it just be a blanket thing? “Well, I think He would want them to be sorry and at least acknowledge they did wrong. They should be generally grieved over their sin.” So you think they should talk to God (pray) about their sins? “Yes, I do.” And do you think they should have to actually acknowledge receipt of what He has done for them? “Oh, yes. I do think they should make some sort of a gesture to show they appreciate what they’ve received, especially if it makes the difference between being with Him or being in hell.”
Don’t you understand? This is exactly what we feel Jesus has done. Jesus is God paying your debt. And all He wants is for you to acknowledge you need Him to pay your debt and that you, in fact, receive it and appreciate what He did for you. That’s all I have done. I’m just glad to be restored, reconciled back with God.
Do you feel you are estranged from God? “I probably am. I never hear from Him. I’m pretty much living my life on my own.” Would you like to hear from Him? Feel like you have a Father – son or daughter relationship? “That would be great, but I’m not ready for that. My life is too messed up. He would want me to do better and I just can’t. I’ve tried and I just can’t do it.” But that’s where you’re wrong. He doesn’t expect you to get better before you start your relationship. You don’t expect your kids to be perfect in order to relate to you, do you? “No, I want them to come to me no matter what.” And don’t you want to help them work things out? “Ya, they need my help all the time. I’m always doing for my kids.” And God wants the same opportunity. Don’t you find when your kids leave you out and try to do it for themselves they just make things worse? “They sure do! It just gets worse and worse until they HAVE to come tell me.” And that’s the way it is with God and He wants to be included early, too. Just as your kids hate to admit the truth, we do, too. But God knows the truth, so we might as well admit it. “ I suppose so.”
Would you like to say a prayer to include Him? “I just don’t see how I can. I’ve lived this way so long; I don’t see how I can change.” Why don’t you throw yourself on the mercy of a loving God and let Him work out everything else? You sure can’t. Why don’t you just admit you can’t and let Him? “But I know I will go right on smoking and drinking and goofing off.” I’m sure you will. I have to admit I was pretty much the same person after I said the prayer as I was before. I felt a little better, but I wasn’t capable of changing myself into what I felt He wanted me to be. “So, what’s the good of it then?” Well, somehow I didn’t feel the same doing the same old things any more. My desires changed. I didn’t want to go the same places and when I was there, they looked different to me: shallow and like a waste of time. “What did you do then?” I found myself doing new things. I wanted to stay home and take care of things. I wanted to find out more about eternal things. I was curious about what the Bible did say. And I found when I read it, suddenly it started making sense. Especially what Jesus said. I started getting answers and knowing things. And I wasn’t as frustrated and angry and found it easier to forgive. I don’t know…everything changed.
“How long did it take for you to change?” It’s still going on, but it’s hard to say early on. It was a very special time. Nothing was ever the same after that day and each day I could tell a big difference. “Well, if God could do it for you, He could probably do it for me. I sure do need for things to change. They aren’t working out the way I am. It would take the power of God!”
Why don’t we pray?” Pray this with me: Dear God, I do want to change and I do want to be forgiven for my sins. I’ve heard about Jesus paying for my sins, but it just seemed so hard to believe but now that Midge has put it this way, it makes a lot more sense. I ask You to forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me with the blood of Jesus so You can’t see them any more and put them in the Sea of Forgetfulness and remember them no more. And help me to remember them no more, too. Be my personal Savior. I thank You for it and acknowledge I need it if anybody does. Now I ask You to put Your Holy Spirit in me so that I will have the power to live like I should live. I’m going to do my best, but that hasn’t been much so far. It is going to have to be You doing it or it won’t get done. I do love You and want You in my life. I am truly a child that needs a Father’s help! I pray all this is the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
And so it is finished. Just like Jesus said it was. You have not only been truly sorry for your sins, but you have received the payment for them that God will accept. Your job is not to clean yourself up. Your job is to stay open to God and what He shows you to do. If He has said to do something, you need to try to do it. Get acquainted with some Christians. Ask God where He would have you go to church. Do something positive. Make an effort and God will meet you more than half way. Find your Bible and read it every day. Talk to your heavenly Father. Take your problems and questions to Him. And then watch and listen for answers. He is a still small voice. He will not yell at you very often if ever. He will back off and let life beat you up instead. And if you want to talk to me call my office and leave a message and I will contact you ASAP: 800-822-8045X4710. I’m not like God: available at all times!
He has promised to give us wisdom if we seek it. I hope this is the beginning of much wisdom and understanding in your life. “Dear Jesus, touch my friend’s mind with wisdom and understanding.” And now I leave you in His hands and only you can take yourself out.
Your sister in Christ,