Am I really your friend?

Posted: September 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: It Hurts So Good, Spirituality | 10 Comments »

If you asked me to describe myself, I would say I’m a good dad, a hard worker, and funny (OK, maybe not the last one).  I love God, I love my family.  I honestly cannot think of one person who would say they hate me.  I am generally a friendly person and will go out of my way to get along with people.   In short, I’m a “nice guy.” (This is going somewhere, please just follow me for a minute.)

I have worked very hard at living in such a way that I can call everyone I know a friend, not an enemy.  I try to follow the teachings of Christ and love people how I feel He would; overlooking faults when I can, taking the low road to keep the peace.  I attend church regularly with my family and we give to people in need when we can, sometimes when we can’t.

For many years, I have felt good about this.  Like God, I have said, “It is good.”

I fear however that I have missed the mark.  No, I have missed the entire target.

When I talk with others, I hear things like, “You’re on the right track Mooney, keep it up.”  “You’re a great man of God.”  And I feel good about it.  It makes me feel good about me, and where I am at with God.  Then I go home and read my Bible, and get a completely different feeling; one of being so far away, on the wrong road even.

In Revelation 21:7-8, John tells us about the new Jerusalem that awaits God’s people.  Then he writes these words:

“He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

I read this and thought, “I’m in!”  Holy Spirit prompted me to read it again, so I did. He who overcomes inherits, YES!  I felt to read it again, and again, and again.  What is it God? What am I missing? I’m no murderer, no adulterer, and no warlock, what’s the deal?  I’m the nice guy, right?

Then it hit me.  I am in the list.  God!  How could it be?  It didn’t take even a single moment longer, and I knew.  I’m not anywhere near the end of the list, but the very first one: the cowardly.

How?  It hurts, but here we go.  It’s because I really don’t love anyone like Jesus does.  Maybe the closest I get is in loving my wife and kids, but she could tell you I still have a way to go.  Other than them, there may not be a single soul.  My interpretation of “loving people” is wrong; fiery lake and burning sulfur wrong.

All this time I have valued the relationship more than the actual person.  I have so not wanted to offend others at the risk of losing a friend, that I have neglected the one thing that matters, their soul.  I have kept silent while hoarding the gift of eternal life.  This is not how Jesus loved at all.  He gave his very life so that we could have eternal life, I can barely open my mouth to offer it to those I claim to love.

There’s something deep inside me that won’t let me live this way any longer, and I won’t.  There is a lost and dying world, and if I claim to follow Christ, then I must tell others.

Here is a poem from an unbeliever to his “Christian” friend.

My Friend – by D.J. Higgins

My friend, I stand in judgment now
And feel that you’re to blame somehow
While on this earth I walked with you day by day
And never did you point the way
You knew the Lord in truth and glory
But never did you tell the story
My knowledge then was very dim
You could have led me safe to him
Though we lived together here on earth
You never told me of your second birth
And now I stand this day condemned
Because you failed to mention him
You taught me many things, that’s true
I called you friend and trusted you
But now I learned, now it’s too late
You could have kept me from this fate
We walked by day and talked by night
And yet you showed me not the light
You let me live, love and die
And all the while you knew I’d never live on high
Yes, I called you friend in life
And trusted you in joy and strife
Yet in coming to this end
I see you really weren’t my friend

How many of our friends and family know that we are a Christians? Do we love them enough to tell them why you live life the way we do? Why we believe?

Jesus said, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38).

  • Christopher Hopper

    I don’t think I ever noticed the word cowardly before. Ever. I’m sitting here rather stunned at the moment, and even more convicted about having a heart for the perishing. Thanks Chris. ch:

  • kathy seery

    wow i think this really persuades, me i have been crying for my gram for weeks but because i dont want her to die and not go to heaven , this pushes me to know i really need to go and not worry about what othes will think.

  • Wayne Thomas Batson

    Hi, Chris. CH sent me this link to your post. Thanks for writing it. The Revelations text immediately goes on my list of scriptures I just don’t get. It’s totally convicting, so I understand what the plain meaning is. I look at that list, and I think, I’ve been almost all of those things, post conversion. So what’s up with that? Oddly enough, I don’t think I have any nonChristian friends I haven’t told about Jesus. But even these encounters, I was far from bold. And what of our enemies? Jesus told us to love our enemies. How can we love them truly if we don’t tell them about Jesus too?

  • mooney

    Thanks so much for your comments. I started to write a reply, but I think it is going to be too long, and deserving of a new post. It boils down to obedience. To be a followers of Christ, we have to actually become like Him.

  • Jason M. Constance

    The text (whichever version) is pretty clear on humanity’s innate, inescapable fallibility. A just god would never entrust another’s eternity to the actions (or non-action) of any particular believer. A just god must always provide a viable path to salvation, or the god is not just. Thus, lack of action by any particular believer cannot damn another’s soul to eternal torment or separation from god — not sure how you interpret the hell concept. The point is that individuals are responsible for themselves. It *must* be this way. And believers *must* trust that god will provide a fair chance for everyone with or without that particular individual’s help.

    So should believers just trust god for their friends’ salvation and not be aggressive in ministry? It’s actually an interesting question and I’ve seen compelling debate based on differing interpretations of the text… but no, that’s not what I’m saying.

    My point is that, ultimately, another’s salvation is their own responsibility — it’s between them and god. Other believers’ actions or non-action cannot be the determining factor. Any particular believer may or may not be involved in another’s decision to join the fold, but they cannot *ultimately* be held accountable at a final judgement. The man in the poem should not be questioning his friend, but asking god why his salvation was ever entrusted to one this god knew would be incapable. A just god would reply… “I gave you many other opportunities — your friend is not to blame here”.

    So isn’t the question… not whether you’re a true friend, but whether you truly trust god?

    Food for thought.

  • Jose Estrada

    Man, Mooney….I could have written this verbatim and not missed a word. This is ME. It’s a huge AMEN to the “Letter From Hell,” video i saw on facebook. I think sometimes christians miss it (partially) when it comes to communion. One of the main points of the scripture in which we take the “ceremony” of communion is to “judge ourselves.” I’m with you when you say you think you’re a “nice guy.” I get told that often by co workers. Co workers that ,unless they know me on facebook, have no idea that their lives are lost and hopeless and hellbound without God. We CAN’T judge ourselves by the standards of men. ONLY God knows our heart. Thanks bro for being obedient and stirring the coals. Bless you man.

  • Hannah Hayner

    wow, this is so good! totally convicting and inspiring at the same time. thanks for posting!

  • mooney

    Great thought Jason. I too believe that salvation comes from God, and that He can speak to someone in many different ways, and that we alone stand before God in judgment. I hope you don’t miss the heart of what I am saying though.

    It was focused on my responsibility to God, not for others decisions, but for my own obedience. We who believe are the watchman, and are to alert the world to what is to come, and how they can be delivered from it. It is for us to tell others (Matthew 10), to obey His word. After all, if we love him, we obey.

    My issue is that I have not obeyed. I have been a coward (by definition): one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity. Synonyms: chicken, craven, cur, dastard, funk, poltroon, recreant, sissy
    Antonyms: hero, stalwart, valiant.

    And according to John’s revelation, cowards have a very hot, painful eternity.

  • Jason M. Constance

    I guess I was responding more to the moral of the poem…

    Not even sure why, really. I’m not religious nor do I discuss it much these days with those who are. Weird for me to respond out of the blue.

    I blame facebook.

    Take care.

  • mooney

    dude, never apologize for sharing your thoughts, and I greatly appreciate them. Is this Jason from Genesis back in the day? If so, it’s good to hear from you man.