If not Then, When?

*Note: This subject has been on my heart for quite a while, and has been sitting in our HB drafts for months. Due to Saturday’s shooting at a Synagogue in PA, I thought it high time to revise and revisit what is in my heart.

There’s a lot of hate in this world, and the enemy is having a field day keeping it dividing so many, and using them to justify their own hate while blaming hate for others. The more souls who are lost will spend eternity separated from the love of God, and nothing would please the enemy more for the world to remain focused on the immediate events, tragedies and attacks. Because it keeps their focus on hate, instead of the Gospel…

There’s a time and place for everything, and I admit sometimes it’s not the best time for sharing the Gospel message, yet if there is ever a right time, it’s when people are faced with the temporal and sudden end of this life.

Of course one should never disrespect someone who has died, and sadly many people see the Gospel message as disrespectful to the largely acceptable idea that all our loved ones end up in heaven, no matter their beliefs in this life.  That is a tough and touchy subject for sure- but by the same token, we can never judge a person’s soul because we don’t know where their heart was at the end.

So many believe that all paths lead to God and heaven, (even among Christians) and that everyone who is a good person will go there when they die, even if they didn’t believe in God or Jesus.

But is there a way to share the gospel message even in the midst of death? Should we conform to the worldview that salvation is personal and that everyone’s beliefs might be true for them, and sharing during a time of grief is hateful and disrespectful?

The lyrics to the song Guilty by the Newsboys ask,

When did it become incorrect
To speak the truth about life and death
When your life gave us all eternity?

When people are faced with death, whether a loved one, friend or even a celebrity, its understandable that questions, doubts or fears are on those left to think about.  And yet its when those questions, doubts and fears can be answered which offend people the most.

I remember a few years ago when a teen boy drowned during a youth group day at a beach. This boy was popular, foot ball player and had a lot of friends. And, he was a Christian.  Certainly there must have been so many questions, especially for those who knew of his recently found faith, especially  “Why did God allow this to happen?”

The pastor of his church didn’t see the need to share the Gospel with so many who attended the funeral because they wanted a celebration of his life, and not to offend anyone  about his eternal life. It’s understandable, but at the same time, how would have sharing the Gospel done anything but answer questions so many might have had? Or provided hope that their friend was in a better place now?

If talking about eternity isn’t right when we’re staring in the face of eternity at death, when is the right time? If one can share the truth of the Gospel when someone is hurting, shouldn’t that include grieving too?

Sometimes we know through illness or long suffering that death is close, but so often death comes when we don’t expect it.  Shouldn’t that be a reminder of how important that conversation is before hand, so they know and can be prepared?

Sometimes there might seem not to be the best time, but like the rich man who asked Lazarus to cool his brow in hell, we can be sure those who never listened would love the chance to have hear it again, or at least warn their loved ones to listen.

This is a hard message to write as it is to hear. But I pray people will hear and consider that if ever was a time to share or listen to the Gospel message it would be when faced with death because we never know when our time is coming.

Years ago I was talking to my sister and she was kind of like so many people- on the fence, and figured if she hadn’t made a decision against Jesus, then that was ok. I told her that if something happened before she could decide, then that non decision would stand before Judgement. We both kind of nervously laughed, saying we hoped we’d be around for a while yet- but still the point was driven home and made her think.

That’s all I ask. That you think about it.  If you don’t know or wonder if you’re good enough to make it to heaven without the work of Jesus on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins, ask yourself,

Have I ever stolen anything? Even something small?
Have I ever lied? Even just a little fib or white lie?
Have I ever used God’s Name in a vain way or as a curse word?

If you answered yes to even one of those, you’ve broken all of God’s law. If you were in a courtroom trying to plead your case, would the judge find you guilty or innocent?

Think of Jesus as already have paid your fine and done your time. Because He has paid it all already- all you have to do is accept that He did and invite Him to be your Lord and Savior.

How about it? Don’t think on it too long. The Problem of sin, consequences, solution, response, assurance can all be found here.

Have a blessed Monday all.