Another tale from Women's Encounter and what God told me there. Read Parts 1 and 2 if you missed them.
My legalism lead to self-righteous judgmental hypocrisy. Well, that lead to pride (perhaps pride lead to all of those but it circled back around). One thing we were told before we left was to share our testimonies (not necessarily our conversion stories but what God has told us recently). A testimony is a witness of God - of His work.
I have known for a looooooong time that I have troubles sharing with others about the Good News of Jesus Christ. I have prayed about it. I have read books on evangelism (which is fancy terms for telling that Christ died for your sins - and mine - upon a cross, paying our debt of sin so that we can reunite with God in Spirit and later in heaven).
I do a great job in my head of playing out conversations. They get insane in there; things people would NEVER say to me come out in my head. I am my own worst condemner. Well, this affects my sharing the Word of God and the way to eternal salvation (fancy terms for not spending all time in hell but rather all time with the Lord of the Universe, God).
Basically, I get scared. I know the truth about how to live forever with God, the one who loves us a LOT. Many do not know. I keep this truth from them. How mean! I say I love God's people but how much do you have to hate a person to keep this kind of truth from them?!?!
What, exactly, am I scared of?
- being embarrassed
- being yelled at or having someone be mad at me
- losing my social standing (do I sound self-righteous yet?)
- slightly being hit
- losing my friends
So I have allowed humans, who are not God and do not have any real power, to control me. I'm sitting here, just aghast at how stupid that is. God, who made the universe, has power and demands fear (respect kind of fear, not scared kind of fear). Yet I have not feared the Creator but the created.
Father, forgive me.
So at Encounter, I heard from God. For the first time in forever (anyone singing Frozen yet?)..... I heard Him. I heard Him talk to me in His silent voice (if you've never heard from God that may sound crazy but it's not, I promise). Here is what He told me:
"What is more important: your friendship with them or Mine?"
What is my friendship going to do for anyone?
Make them less lonely for 40 years or so vs. God's friendship which will make them never alone for all time.
Uhh...I'm kind of drawing a blank here. My friendship has no power. I cannot save anyone. Salvation is a personal matter between God and each such-and-such-number of million of His children.
I can't save you. I can't protect you from hell. I can't give you money (I mean any that makes a real difference). I can't give you children (unless your name is Big A and even then that is God's work). I can't make anyone fall in love with you (very much like the Genie in Aladdin). I cannot make your job better or different. I can't make you graduate (I can edit papers well, so I can help in that sense) from high school or college or law school or seminary or clown college. I cannot even love you the best.
So my disobeying God's command to GO and share His Word has hurt only you and others I haven't shared the gospel with. I am so sorry for my selfishness. Please forgive me. I do love you and I want you to know the One who loves you more than anyone else can.