2004-11-08 - Rude Awakening
Ezekiel 33:11, "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord God, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'"
Richard Martin woke up from a two-month coma and was arrested. He was charged with attempted murder and kidnapping, after having crashed his car, deliberately, with his wife along as the passanger. Martin fell into the coma after the crash. His wife survived and told police that she was there against her will. She told the Nevada police, "He's trying to kill me; he's trying to kill me." Apparently the Martins filed for bankruptcy just days before the crash took place, and Richard was trying to end it all. I wonder who's paying those hospital bills.
Imagine waking up in the hospital, from a coma, and immediately being placed under arrest. That would be a rude awakening. But there will be an even ruder awakening that awaits many. It is not a topic we enjoy focusing on, but it is the reality that we have to face. Anyone who dies without Christ will experience the rudest awakening there can be. I know that I am preaching to the choir here. Most people who take time to read Christian devotionals are Christians, and are trusting in Christ for forgiveness. However, we all know those who do not share our faith, many of them close to us, who are in danger of this rude awakening. It is easy to plod through life, day in and day out, and lose sight of the eternal realities that are ever present all around us.
Sometimes those who are closest to us are the hardest to talk to about these things. We can easily come up with excuses about not complicating the relationship, or that our faith is a very personal matter to us, but they are still excuses. If we really cared for those around us, we would want what is best for them, and life or death outside of Christ is not what is best for them. I'm not suggesting that we all become zealots and tattoo "repent or burn" on our foreheads, but there should be a natural desire and tendency about us that allows us to freely talk about the things of Christ with those we know. If we really are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), shouldn't we seek to represent Him to those who are closest to us?
It is not easy to be winsome, but it is a skill that we can develop. The gospel is message of hope to many, but it is also a message of death to others. When we look at Christ, we see someone who was winsome and yet balanced, because he said what people needed to hear. He was not afraid to tell the rich young man what he still lacked (Luke 18:18-27). It was what he needed to hear, but what we also see in that exchange is that the rich young man went away sad. Christ told him what he needed to hear, but the message was rejected. It is possible, even likely, that we will generate no better response from others than Christ received, but, in love, we must speak the truth to those we care about. The response of others is not our responsibility. Our task is to faithfully represent the cause of Christ, and to share the message of forgiveness as we have opportunity
Soli Deo Gloria,