By John Fischer
Also available as a podcast at: http://thelife.com/blogs/experience/kindle/2008/08/02/hell-bound-2/
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It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. – Proverbs 25:2 (NIV)
There was a poignant story this week about evangelists on the streets of Las Vegas. They were preaching and holding signs about the gospel when a woman walked by and shouted: “I am a sinner and I am going straight to hell.” Cheers resounded from some people nearby who supported the sentiment.
“It doesn’t have to be that way,” one of the evangelists called out.
“I want it that way,” the woman called back over her shoulder.
Ironically, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was in the middle of a lawsuit defending the evangelists’ right to be there based on laws of free speech, and in the process this woman exercised her right to walk into hell with her head held high. It’s an awesome, God-given privilege to have the right to do this, and we need to defend that right, even though we know how tragic this is, just as the ACLU has to defend the evangelists’ right to the sidewalk if they are going to be consistent with their commitment to free speech. It’s remarkable how God has chosen to honor the dignity of human beings who reject Him.
Think about it this way: God has not made the truth about His existence obvious to everyone. When Jesus came, you had to have “ears to hear” or you missed it. Why doesn’t God make Himself more obvious to everyone? He is protecting the rights of those who don’t believe as well as those who do.
If God were obvious to everyone, you would be a fool for not believing. In which case, some might believe reluctantly or for the wrong reason. As it is, you are a fool (1 Corinthians 1:18) for believing and those of us who believe can afford that foolishness because our faith confirms in us what we see but others don’t.
So this woman who wants it this way—wants to be a sinner going straight to hell—should not be looked upon as an enemy, or some twisted, sick soul who is about to get what she deserves. Instead, we love her, respect her, and marvel at the freedom God has given her to be able to do this—to make it her call.
You probably know somebody like this who frustrates you no end. I bet the sign-holder had at least the thought of using her sign to bang some sense into this woman. Instead, we need to honor and learn how to befriend people like this, and respect their right to believe what they believe. By allowing for their unbelief, we may just be creating the environment that will encourage them to believe. Anyway, hasn’t God done that with us?
Questions: Do you know someone who takes the attitude of the women mentioned in this devotional? What would you want to tell her if you met her, and how would you do it?
About this Author: http://thelife.com/experience/devotionalformen/authors/john-fischer/