August 26, 2013
Inspired By a Conversation With My Cousin
This past Friday night, I was talking to one of my cousins who lives in a different country on Skype video and at one point, talk about God came up. She does not believe in God and doesn’t want to and although I am not 100% sure as to why, it is possible that it’s because she has had a bad experience with Christians, or “Christians” who treated her poorly for her preference in a life partner or for whatever reason they could think of. But instead of speculating or guessing as to my cousin’s reasons for not wanting to believe in God, let us move on. I asked her what I could do to make her believe in God and she told me nothing. It made me sad because one of the ministers at my church mentioned during a recent Bible study that we should not worry about leaving people we love behind when we make it to our eternal life in Heaven because if they do not make it to Heaven, our memories of them will be erased since there is no sadness or pain or crying in Heaven – which I told my cousin. She told me to soak up as many memories as I can now with her while we are both here on earth. She also said that maybe God will forgive her and let her enter Heaven and I told her that it has to be a conscious decision to believe in God and to want to get into Heaven, due to free will. (The only way to enter Heaven is through Jesus, which I would have mentioned to her if I had time, but she had to go when her fiancee arrived home because they were going out shopping). My cousin knows I started blogging recently and I am sure she was joking when she said that maybe our conversation could be an inspiration for a new blog on how I tried to get my cousin to believe in God, but I thought about it after the chat was over and then asked her permission to actually write about it. The reason I want to write about it is for two reasons, which I will break down.
The first reason is because even as a Christian, I still believe that love is love no matter who it is you love and I happen to love my cousin’s future wife as if she were already part of the family. Whether it is a man and a woman, two men, or two women who love each other, it is still love and besides that, no human being has the right to judge another for any reason at all. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:1-2, ““Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” The Apostle James said in James 4:12, “God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” These verses make it clear that we have no right (or authority) to judge anyone else for any reason at all because only God had that authority to decide what is right and wrong and who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus also tells us that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39 and in Luke 10:27 a man asks Jesus “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” and Jesus replied asking, “What does the law of Moses say?” and the man answers, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”) Another translation says “Love others as you love yourself.” You are to show everyone (yourself included) love and in the same way Jesus loved us.
Jesus loved us so much he died for our sins. We have all sinned because no one is perfect except for Jesus. Whenever you curse or use any other form of offensive or foul language you are sinning. When you do something out of selfishness or do not do something out of laziness, you are sinning because we are to be selfless and hard-working. There is more than one form of work: there is the work you do to earn a living (where you get paid money) and then there is God’s work. As long as you are doing God’s work: spreading the good news, talking to others about God’s mighty deeds and saving power, helping others in any way you can (whether it is feeding them, clothing them, providing shelter, or giving encouragement, love, a smile, or your time), reading your Bible daily (even once you know it inside and out) and applying what you learn to your life, and living God’s way, then you are not being idle or lazy. Getting back to the point about sinning – whenever you doubt or let fear stop you from doing something you know deep inside you need to be doing, you are sinning. This does not make us bad people, it just means that we need God to show us the right way to live and we need to follow his guidance. I admit it, I am a sinner! I thank God daily that Jesus died for me to save me from my sins and that I do not have to walk around feeling condemned or guilty for sins I know I unintentionally committed (I do not intentionally sin) and for sins I am unaware of committing! I thank God that Jesus was raised to life three days later so I could have a right relationship with him through his Son. So let nobody be offended since I admit that I myself sin, even if it is unintentional.
The second reason I wanted to write about this is because my cousin said something during our conversation that made me think of something later on. There is only 1 way to Heaven and that is through Jesus. He tells us this in John 14:6, “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” I am actually thinking of doing an entire separate post about Jesus being The Way because there is enough I could say about it that if I said it all here, this would be a really long blog post! I am also considering doing a post on Justice (again) because the other night I had something I wanted to say about it, so if I can remember what it is I wanted to say about the topic of justice, then I will write about it.
God wants everyone to make it to Heaven, which the Apostle Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:9. Peter says, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” All followers of Jesus (children of God/Christians) are to spread the word of the good news (which comes from the Gospels: Jesus healed many, died for our sins, was raised to life 3 days later so we could have a right relationship with God, and he will be coming back for those of us who are saved and will be spending eternity with him) and (some believers are to) plant the seed in other people’s hearts about God and then other believers are to water the seed to bring non-believers and the lost souls to Jesus to be saved. As a true believer, I am taking my responsibility seriously and will not give up on bringing everyone I care about, along with strangers and enemies all to the Lord. I know I cannot save everyone, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying as long as I am able to (as long as I have a way to communicate God’s message about being saved). I have faith that most, if not everyone, I reach out to save will turn to God and be saved and that God will make it right in my heart for those who do not after Judgment Day and I have made it to Heaven.