It all fell apart when I asked God why people have to go to hell. Yeah, I went there.
It started with an encounter with two high school Mormon missionaries being pleasant on the street. I cut off further conversation (nicely) and walked away.”They have invaded,” I thought. And then I wondered (again) why Christians do not reach out to people. I have heard that Mormons go door to door because they have to, they are working their way to heaven. They believe the wrong things, which will end with them being separated from God in a place of eternal torment. So how do I know that what I believe are the “right things”?
So I guess the question that really started this train of thought is how do I fulfill the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all people? I encounter hundreds of people when I go to events, gatherings, or even just the store. Am I responsible for all those people? But people are not robots, and they do not want another “flash-fix.” I cannot actually guarantee their happiness, or an easy path RIGHT NOW. We are made in God’s image, and that is beautifully complex. There are hundreds of layers of thoughts, feelings, experiences behind the face of each person you encounter on the street. God knows where each person is at, and He does use fast encounters. But I too often do not see them as people.
I have always known God as compassionate. I do not understand His justice, but I know it is essential. And the two are united by love – a love that allows personal decisions and mistakes and rejecting God. And He cared enough to send Jesus, His ONLY Son, to live and die so we have a chance to live with Him. Compassion meets justice. And the clock is ticking. And the end of the world is coming. And there are so many who need to know there is HOPE!
And then God reminded me…I’m not in this alone. I am not in charge of converting the world. I am not responsible for the decisions of other people. He works through the Church, the community of those who trust and follow Him. And He works through prayer…in ways I do not understand. So I am praying for those two well-dressed boys that they will come to know His intense, undefinable love for them. And I need the same prayer. And then understand how to share the love.
God, thank You that You see the deepest part of me, all the questions, and You are not offended, but work through them with me. Thank You for the people of this world…please help me to learn to love them in the best way that I can, a way that reflects Your love through my lens. And please help me to see You better, and be awed by love. Amen.