Saturday, September 8, 2012
I recently read a great blog post, Pacifying Lies and the Sympathizing Truth. I found it so very encouraging...in light of my own personal attempts to share the "TRUTH in love"...and nothing but the TRUTH!
This has really put me in a pickle a few times recently...biggest on my radar is dealing with a new believer friend of mine who's grandparent passed away. According to fruit shown (sinful lifestyle, negative rejection of the gospel, etc.) it is highly unlikely that they were saved...despite the love of my friend and her attempts to share Christ with them. Like Bekah said in her post, it is so easy to want to say something trite and pacify the situation. Hey, it's uncomfortable, right? When a saved loved one dies we are sad but we "don't grieve as those with no hope" because we know we'll see them again some day in heaven. I Thes. 4:13 But with the death of the unsaved...we know we will not...and that they have rejected God's grace.
NOTE: I am aware of the dangers of being judgmental of people's hearts...I looked at some forum threads dealing with this issue and found it disappointing how it was dealt with, even and especially on fundamental threads. Bottom line for me: Christians are known by their fruit (that they show signs of the Holy Spirit living in them! Luke 6:44) AND...the Bible is very clear that some people go to heaven and some people go to hell. Matthew 25. All roads don't lead to heaven. God made an even better Way.)
I first pointed out to my friend that God is the JUST JUDGE. Perfectly Just. Genesis 18:25, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" This is a great comfort. God is the Sovereign Judge of Righteousness...full of grace...abounding in love. It's because he's so fair and just that he offers a WAY our of sin at all. As I pointed out to my poor grieving sister...we can't make this choice for anyone else...if they went into eternity without the hope of Christ...that was their choice in spite of the grace offered.
Someday John 16:22..."So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."
In the meantime...I tried to encourage her with something I'd been reading in Romans 11 about how we Gentiles were grafted in...because of God's mercy...it is a crazy mystery in a lot of ways...I love verse 33, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!"
I also tried to encourage her with 1 Peter 5:7-11, "casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
Honestly, I was just going to share the first part about casting your anxieties on him because he cares for you...but I realized that she needed to be encouraged to stand firm in her baby faith. I encouraged her to study God's character. He makes no mistakes. Only He can restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Please chip in...if anyone's reading this...I'd love to hear more Scripture I could share with my dear friend. Remember...nothing trite or fluffy...about God needing angels in heaven...blah blah blechk... What does the BIBLE say!?