Thursday, October 6, 2011

How Will They Know?

Last Saturday night we were in down town Fort Worth just enjoying a Friday night and cooler weather. Listening to a live band on an outdoor patio. As the night went on there was a group of men that showed up with huge banners. They stood on the sidewalk facing everyone on the patio. Not a friendly face in the bunch. They were carrying Bibles and their signs read things like "Jesus Hates Sin" "There's no party in Hell" Your basic hell fire and damnation words that are condemning to all people. I could not stop looking at them. I locked eyes with one of the guys and he had this look of hate in his eyes. I thought to myself "this is so wrong guys. You're missing the point." By this time people were treating it like a freak show and the police were asking the men to move back to the curb. People were taking pictures with them like tourists. I could tell people thought this was a huge joke. I don't claim to know what God is thinking but I can't help but think He was so sad to see this play out. That this is not the message that He wants to send to lost people.
I just kept thinking about the message that God really wants to send and I kept getting this very strong feeling to go and talk to them. Before in the past I would think about what I would say but not follow through but suddenly I stood up and started walking towards them. I thought maybe these guys weren't as menacing as they looked and we could have a good conversation from one Christian to another. At first I asked "What church are you guys a part of?" He didn't answer just showed me a little flyer that basically read all sinners go to hell. I said "I really wished you guys would have signs that said how much God loved these people and talked about God's heart for them." I said "You guys aren't going to win people over with these kinds of signs. People need to hear that God loves them. They don't need to be judged and condemned." He looked at me and said " That's not what people need to hear. You are a hypocrite. You are right in this with them. You are the reason why I never became a Christian." Ok! So much for talking Christian to Christian.He said "People know that God loves them. I'll prove it" Then he pulled one of the guys that was actually in the band over and said "Do you know God loves you?" The guy looked at him and said "Well I certainly hope so!" "See?" he said. I wanted to tell this guy "I didn't mean "God loves you and so" do I triteness with the little yellow sticker. I was talking about love, the heart of a Father. But I could tell this guy was not going to see anyone's side.  I said "If you really did care about these people and were concerned for them and they salvation you wouldn't display signs like this and you wouldn't have this attitude towards me." It became very clear what his mission was. He was there to incite people. they succeeded on many levels as one young guy got in his face as he was walking by shouting at him. Definitely not a way to win lost souls. As I walked away my knees were shaking. Not because of fear, but because I could just feel the sadness coming off of this guy. I felt so sad for him.

 It made me sad to think that these guys are out here every week end and are the only reference to God that some people see all week. Sad sad sad. I know that the majority of people saw them as a joke, but some people were probably thinking "yep that's what I thought God was like. Judging, willing to throw me into hell when I mess up. Condemnation." What a difference it would have made if their signs read "God loves you. God cares for you. Come and let me tell you how He loves you!" i just can't help but think that God was shaking his head and saying "No! Tell them about me. Tell them that I love them and that I pursue them with the heart of a Father. Tell them that my love has no limits. Tell them that I love them so much that I sacrificed my Son for them. That I watched him go through so much pain and suffering so that they could be free. Tell them about that Love!"

I just keep thinking about a quote by Ghandi that I heard in church a month ago "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." We have to do better! We have to do better about telling people about God's love for them and His heart for them. How will they know if we don't tell them?

John 17:26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."


Jennifer said...

This is beautifully written. It's been too long since I read your blog. You have such a wonderful way with words. Love you, friend.

God has said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6