The problem of “a Better Place”


What are we really doing when we say someone’s in
a better place“?    
Being nice?  We think so.   
Lying?   Probably.

Is being honest better?  

Lying?

Seriously – “Lying?  Probably.”
Saying someone’s in a better place is probably lying?

I’m sorry, but yes.  It’s probably lying.

How many of us will be in this “better place”?

Mt 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

The narrow gate and the wide gate.  Most Christians should be aware of them.  Lot’s of non-Christians are as well.  The narrow gate is even a stumbling block for some people – like how can a loving God send more people to Hell that He allows into Heaven?

The problem with that question, of course, is that it’s based on a false assumption.  Unfortunately, rather than address the false assumption – too many people will try to actually explain away the statement from the point of view of the person asking – and therefore fully accepting the false assumption.

John 3:16 is a very famous verse.  It’s too bad the verses after it aren’t as famous.

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Did you catch that – we condemn – or save ourselves.  It’s our choice to believe in Jesus or not.  And through that choice, it’s also our choice to be saved or not.  To take the narrow path – or the wide path.

Many would say the difference between whether one is Christian or not – meaning, in a rather self-serving way – whether or not the person claims to be a Christian, without regard as to whether or not Jesus would consider them a Christian.  We see evidence that this happens from this passage –

Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Finally, because of all the things we just looked at, we get an idea of just how narrow the narrow path is – and how wide the wide path is.  The difference is staggering.

Ten Healed of Leprosy

Lk 17:11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
Lk 17:14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
Lk 17:15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Lk 17:17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

One out of ten.  That’s not good.  And this points to one out of ten who were healed!  It doesn’t even count all the people who didn’t even ask to be healed.  That cuts the odds down so much more.  And makes the difference between the narrow path and the wide path even greater.  

Just in case you missed it – I said, “It doesn’t even count all the people who didn’t even ask to be healed.”  Another choice.  Another choice made by us – whether or not to even reach out for healing.  Again – it’s not God forcing us to not reach out – it’s not God condemning us for no reason.  It’s us condemning ourselves.  Even to the point of people who say they are Christians, condemning themselves.

Have I got your attention?  With an intro like that – if I don’t have your attention now, I’m not sure what else is needed.  Especially if you call yourself a Christian.


So, let’s get to it.
Let’s look at The problem of a better place.

Surely you’ve heard it.  Someone dies.  We don’t really know what to say to the family and friends of the person who passed away.  So we tell them the person is in a “better place”.  Like that’s supposed to somehow turn their grief into something else.

Maybe you’ve even said it.  

I don’t mean to be cruel here – but I do hope to be honest – and I do hope to present the best time to tell someone about this “better place”.  At least the “better place” I’m talking about.  It’s called Heaven.

What is this “Better Place”?

Presumably, the better place that most people intend to be talking about is Heaven.  Why we say “better place” instead of Heaven is beyond me.  Maybe we are afraid the person we’re talking to doesn’t believe in Heaven – and that they’ll be offended.  Maybe we know the person we’re talking about didn’t believe in Heaven – and we don’t want to present a picture that is obviously false.  Maybe the person giving this message that’s supposed to comfort doesn’t even believe in Heaven.  

So, we just call it a “better place”.  One problem with that – it assumes that nothing could be worse than the life we have here on earth.  And while that’s certainly supposed to be a nice, comforting thought – it’s also not true.

Could the “better place” be worse than life here on earth?

This explanation of the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew makes that quite clear –

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

Mt 13:36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
Mt 13:37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Mt 13:40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

We see that The field is the world – that would be our life now – here on earth.  Since the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the evil one are both here in this life, there is a mixture of good and evil.  That makes sense, or at least it should.  There will come a time though, when what’s referred to here as the harvest takes place.  Those who are saved – who truly believe in Jesus – will be in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Those who aren’t – will be in Hell.  There won’t be any mixing of good and evil.  In Heaven, thee won’t be any evil – no sin – no temptation even.  In Hell – even the “good” characteristics of it’s residents will no longer exist.  There won’t be any love – even the pale shadow of love that we have now, because love is from God.  Even two people who considered themselves to be “best friends” will be at odds with each other.  C. S. Lewis wrote a book – The Great Divorce – that gives us insight into what life could be like with nothing at all of good / God in it.  

But it’s so much worse than that.  Yes – believe it or not – it gets worse.

how much worse could it be?

For instance – you may remember this, the words of Jesus after His resurrection –

Mk 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Yes – verses 16 – 18 are references to people.
But look at verse 15 – Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  
Does it really mean preach the good news to literally – all creation?  Should it not be to all people?
Let’s examine it and see.

There are two words that we need to understand.  The first is “world” – as in Go into all the world and preach the good news.  Are we really to preach the gospel to every one and every thing?

Here’s the Greek word that’s translated as “world” – and what it means –

2889 κόσμος [kosmos /kos·mos/] n m. Probably from the base of 2865; TDNT 3:868; TDNTA 459; GK 3180; 187 occurrences; AV translates as “world” 186 times, and “adorning” once. 1 an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government. 2 ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3. 3 the world, the universe. 4 the circle of the earth, the earth. 5 the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human race. 6 the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ. 7 world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly. 7A the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ. 8 any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort. 8A the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc). 8A of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19.  1)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

I’d say “world”, by itself, is inconclusive as far as whether it means just people – or literally all of creation.

With that in mind, let’s look at the next word – creation, as in preach the good news to all creation.

2937 κτίσις [ktisis /ktis·is/] n f. From 2936; TDNT 3:1000; TDNTA 481; GK 3232; 19 occurrences; AV translates as “creature” 11 times, “creation” six times, “building” once, and “ordinance” once. 1 the act of founding, establishing, building etc. 1A the act of creating, creation. 1B creation i.e. thing created. 1B1 of individual things, beings, a creature, a creation. 1B1A anything created. 1B1B after a rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called). 1B1C the sum or aggregate of things created. 1C institution, ordinance.  2)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

This is certainly leading in the direction of literally everything, not just people.

Before possibly jumping to a quick conclusion – let’s look some more.

In Romans, Paul write about the future glory of God’s creation that is groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time– 

Future Glory

Ro 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
Ro 8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

We’re getting very close now – nearly at the point where we can say that these verses are talking about – literally – all of creation.

Let’s put in the final piece now –

Ge 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.
Ge 3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
Ge 3:19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

We generally – maybe always – read this as the curse on Adam, for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  You may remember, it was preceded by a curse on the serpent and Eve as well.

But look at it again.  The curse on Adam was indirect.  Adam’s life – and ours – is going to be made difficult because of the curse on the ground – and everything that comes out of the ground – including us.  But at it’s heart – this is a curse on the earth, and everything that comes from it.  That’s our food – our clothing – everything we make or build, from a dog house to a skyscraper – from an abacus to a supercomputer.  Everything.

By the way – the future glory of which Paul wrote –

Isa 11:6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
Isa 11:7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
Isa 11:8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.
Isa 11:9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

Just to close the circle on what we’ve looked at, let’s see what the Hebrew word translated as earth in the final verse means –

776 אֶרֶץ [ʾerets /eh·rets/] n f. From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; TWOT 167; GK 824; 2504 occurrences; AV translates as “land” 1543 times, “earth” 712 times, “country” 140 times, “ground” 98 times, “world” four times, “way” three times, “common” once, “field” once, “nations” once, and “wilderness + 4057” once. 1 land, earth. 1A earth. 1A1 whole earth (as opposed to a part). 1A2 earth (as opposed to heaven). 1A3 earth (inhabitants). 1B land. 1B1 country, territory. 1B2 district, region. 1B3 tribal territory. 1B4 piece of ground. 1B5 land of Canaan, Israel. 1B6 inhabitants of land. 1B7 Sheol, land without return, (under) world. 1B8 city (-state). 1C ground, surface of the earth. 1C1 ground. 1C2 soil. 1D (in phrases). 1D1 people of the land. 1D2 space or distance of country (in measurements of distance). 1D3 level or plain country. 1D4 land of the living. 1D5 end(s) of the earth. 1E (almost wholly late in usage). 1E1 lands, countries. 1E1A often in contrast to Canaan.  3)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Yes – it’s everything.  Not just people, but everything.

I know, this was a long way around to look at all those passages, and see what they really meant.  But it’s a journey that’s more than worth the effort.

Here’s the original statement that got us started on that journey –

But it’s so much worse than that.  Yes – believe it or not – it gets worse.

How could it be so bad?

We were looking at how the place we go after this life could be worse than not having anything “good” left in even people we knew and loved while we were alive.  Through this series of verses – we see that nothing good of anything in the world will be there.  And this is even worse than you might imagine.  

The people – the ones who reject Jesus – will be in Hell.  But they won’t be friends, loved ones, or have any “good” characteristics left in them.
Now, we see that nothing “good” of creation will be in Hell either.  Maybe you think all the “bad” animals – like the ones that kill people – will be there.  But they won’t.  The passage in Isaiah makes that quite clear.   Maybe you think there will be broken down houses – machines that don’t work very well – things like that will be there.  A better question is whether or not any of that kind of stuff will be either in Hell or in Heaven.  Remember – the earth / all of creation will be restored.  It doesn’t talk of what will happens to the things we made.  It’s quite clear that God’s creation – with the exception of those people who don’t want to be in Heaven – will in fact be in Heaven.  God’s earth and everything on / in it that He created, will be restored.  Our human creations?  Who knows?  But the truth is, they won’t last anyway – because theythey were made by us, when we were fallen – and they will not be restored.  Maybe this is why, in The Great Divorce, houses didn’t keep out the rain, the heat, the cold, or anything – because they weren’t real, but merely images.

Think about all that – and then try to tell yourself that being there is being in a “better place”.

How many people even expect to go to Heaven?

Thanks to what I like to refer to as a “coincidence” from God, I’m going to do an entire article on this topic, although with an expanded focus.  Yesterday, I got an email from Christianity Today, with an article titled The Skeptical State of Bible Reading in 2017.  Mine will be titled The Problem of “knowing”, and will be based on a combination of the Christianity Today article and yet another email I coincidentally received today from Bible Gateway, with this verse –
Job 19:25 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.

 

In the meantime, I still need to have at leaty something in here about the topic of how many people even expect to go to Heaven.  

A while back, I emailed myself a reference to a recent poll of how many people believe in God, in Heaven, and how many expect to go to Heaven.  Unfortunately, I forgot to include the link to the study.  I do remember though – not surprisingly, the percentage of Americans who believe in God continues to drop.  A little surprising is that some of those who claim to believe in God do not believe in Heaven.  Even more surprising – not everyone who claims to believe in Heaven thinks they will go to Heaven.

With that kind of expectation, these people really can’t talk about Heaven.  They have to call “it”, whatever “it” is – “a better place”.  But that begs the question – exactly what is this “better place”?

And then there’s the approximately 25% (if I remember correctly) that believe they just cease to exist and there’s nothing after death.  That’s depressing.  It makes life so pointless.  It’s like Koheleth, (aka The Teacher / Solomon) wrote – 

Ecc 3:9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

“revere” – or “fear”?

If you happen to either remember or check out this passage, you may find another word used in that last verse instead of “revere”.  Even in two different versions of the NIV translation, you’ll find two different words!  

The verses above are from the 1984 version of the NIV.  
Below is the last sentence from the 2011 version of the NIV.

Ecc 3:14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.  4)The New International Version. (2011). (Ec 3:14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

So – which is it – fear or revere?

As I began to write up the answer to the question of “fear or revere”, it was obvious that it wasn’t going to be a short answer.  It also seemed like an important enough question to warrant it’s own article.  

It’s important for two reasons.  
First – because of the negative image that “fear” gives us under any circumstances.  Fearing God is sometimes enough to drive people to want to believe that God doesn’t exist.  Unfortunately, although Christianity continues to use the “fear the Lord” phrasing – it doesn’t mean we all need to literally be scared of God.  
Second – because it brings up the larger issue of words and phrases that are used in Christianity and in churches that had a very specific meaning at the time they were first used – but have now lost that meaning as times change / words change / history get lost / Etc.

So, I highly encourage you to check out  The problem of “fear the Lord”.  Clicking on the link should open it in a new tab or window, so you can read it and then easily come back to here.

Eternity

We have something of eternity placed in our hearts, by God – our creator.  Further – God puts this sense of eternity in us for a reason.  Actually – a few reasons – it’s better for us because of all the reasons listed, and so that we will revere – “fear”, with the Christian meaning of fear – God.

But not everyone believes in God – or in Heaven – so they say “a better place” instead of “Heaven”.   Or whatever the alternative is.

And the meaning of “a better place” is left for the listener to define for themselves.
Which often times is of no comfort at all.

Being nice?  We think so.
But maybe not so nice.  
We just don’t know.  
The truth is, we can’t know – since we leave it to the other person to define that “better place”.

What’s the alternative?

I guess the answer to that would be – it depends.

If you believe that we cease to exist after death – there’s absolutely nothing remotely like kind words that can be said.  Unless you truly think that life is so pointless that nothing is better than something.  And then you may not even care about being nice.

If you don’t believe in Heaven – I suspect there’s also nothing comforting to say.  Maybe you believe in reincarnation – in which case you think the person is coming back – and the next life may be better or may be worse.  That’s not comforting – especially since there’s no reuniting of the person who passed away with their surviving loved ones who are still alive.  Not in this life – or in their alleged next life.

I submit that the only truly comforting thing is to talk about Heaven.  The one place where people can be reunited after death.  The one place where the person who passes on is truly in “a better place“.  A place with no suffering.  A place with no pain.  A place where things are the way they were meant to be.  A place with no evil.  A place with no devil.  A place with God.

I want you to notice I said the one place where people can be reunited after death.  You may want me to say will be, but it’s can be.  It will be true if all parties in question will be there.  Otherwise – well, it’s could have been.  

People ask about friends and loved one that didn’t believe in Jesus.  They won’t be there.  And that’s why it’s so important to talk to them about Jesus.  Some say they’d rather be in Hell with their friends than in Heaven with Jesus.  You just read about the likely differences between Heaven and Hell,  Is being in Hell with your friends really what you want – knowing that there won’t even be the ability to have friends or loved ones in Hell – because love is something we can feel because of God – while the absence of love is what would be experienced in Hell?

The problem of “a better place”

The problem of this better place – Heaven – is that when someone’s dead – it’s too late to start telling them about it. 

The problem of this better place – Heaven – is that if the person who passed away wasn’t a believer – there’s no comfort available to the people who remain on this earth.  Quite the opposite – there’s nothing but even more grief.  Because if this is the time we choose to bring it up – after the person dies – after the person has no chance of being in Heaven – we’re left with the obvious conclusion to be reached by the person we’re trying to comfort – that their loved one is on their way to Hell.  What kind of comfort is that?

And so – even as Christians – we tell someone that their loved one is going to “a better place”.  We lie to them, hoping to console them.  We lie to them because we’re ashamed to admit that we didn’t care enough about them while they were alive – to tell them the truth about God – about Heaven – and about Hell.

God cries when that person goes to Hell.  It’s one of His children that wasn’t saved.  Because none of His other children – in spite of our claims to be believers in Him – in spite of Him leaving us as His means to reach others – none of us felt comfortable with telling that person who just died about the Truth.

And then God cries again – because we’ve realized that we failed Him.  We failed Him when we didn’t tell the person who passed away.  And we failed Him again when we only told the surviving family and friends that their loved one is in a better place.

Note:  I stopped here Saturday afternoon.  The message was getting very depressing.  Make no mistake – it is a depressing series of events outlined here – that some may miss eternal life in Heaven because too many of us were afraid / ashamed to tell them what we believe.

It’s now Monday morning.  Yesterday I received an email from a friend at church about a sermon she listened to by Rick Warren.  It was about the message of hope in The Lord’s Prayer.  She sent it to me because of the series I’m doing now on This then is how you (we) should pray.  But I think it really applies here too.  And so I continue Monday morning.

The past is the past, and as far as we know, we can’t change it.  But the future doesn’t have to be a straight line continuation of the past.  And we can be forgiven for the things we’ve done in the past.  What we need is a reminder of what Paul said in Romans –

Ro 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

We need to not only believe this, but feel good enough about what we believe that we are more than willing to share it with others.  Certainly with the ones we love and care about.  And with those that we don’t even know.  The odd part is that sometimes it seems easier to share with people we don’t know than it is with the ones we care about the most.

The thing is – we have to realize that it isn’t us that has the responsibility to convert people – to “make” them believe.  That’s God’s part.  Only He can do that.  And He says as much in the Great Commission, if we pay attention to what Jesus really said –

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The authority is given not to us, but to Jesus.  The Apostles were told to baptize the people.  However, this is the baptism with water – not with the Holy Spirit.  Only God can give the Holy Spirit.  We are to teach others – not to force them to believe – and not to even convince them – just to teach.  The rest is between that person and God.  And notice what Jesus says last –

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

That statement wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t relevant to the preceding ones.  Jesus is telling us that although He commanded us to go and teach others about Him – He is with us.  He will be the one who truly “communicates” with the person – the one who can penetrate that person’s heart.  Jesus is the one that person will either reject or accept.  It’s not about us – it’s about Him.

But what of the missed opportunities of the past?

We could get hung up on the missed opportunities of the past.  We certainly shouldn’t be proud of them.  We also shouldn’t ignore them.  We should learn from them.  But to dwell on them and beat ourselves up over them – I think – is giving ourselves too much credit.

Why?

First of all – I don’t believe that God gives up on someone just because we failed to present the Gospel to them.  He’s certainly bigger than that.  

Second – the Bible has examples showing the importance of the way we live – and how that is also a powerful way to show our faith –

Jesus said –

Mt 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

To that end, Paul wrote –

1Co 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

So while we have failed to say the words – hopefully we did live a life that would have shown our faith.  And God can bring others into someone’s life in order to get His message to them.

That’s not to say we should be happy and just keep on not talking to people.  Far from it.  We shouldn’t pat ourselves in the back for “being a light” and rest on that accomplishment.  Especially for people that we really care about.  We should take the active step of talking to people about what we believe – and inviting them to be part of it.

This reminds me of something I’ve written before.  When I was doing research for the Islam: Peace, Love and Hope series, I read a book written by a Muslim who converted to Christianity.  He had lots of Christian friends before converting.  But, when he converted, it wasn’t because of any of his friends.  Afterwards, he asked those friends- “Why didn’t you tell me?”  He wanted to know why none of the people who called him a friend cared enough about him to tell him about Jesus.  
Talk about embarrassment!  How does one answer that question?

What are you (we) going to do?

What am I going to do?  

As soon as I publish this one, the first thing I’m going to do is thank my friend for reminding me about the importance of hope – not just in The Lord’s Prayer – but in everything we do and say.  The next thing – I’m going to send this off to a family member – along the with message that I care enough to want to share the message with her.

How about you?  What are you going to do?

Update

I did send this off to the family member.  She rejected it.  Said it she was happy that I had something to comfort me.  I’m not surprised.  I’m disappointed.  But not surprised.  In her very closed circle of friends, I’m guessing she’s not likely to know many Christians.  The only thing left for me – is to pray.  The rest – that’s up to her and God.

Series Navigation<< The problem of “Fear of the Lord”The problem of sacrifices and burnt offerings >>

References   [ + ]

1, 2, 3. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
4. The New International Version. (2011). (Ec 3:14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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