A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have jury duty. It’s not really the point of this blog so I’ll spare the details. During my lunch break of an hour and a half I decided to put my headphones in and take a stroll through the city. On the way to the shopping plaza I noticed the Green Peace folks with their clip boards lining the sidewalks collecting signatures for their cause. I didn’t pay them much attention and continued on my way.
Walking back to the court house I noticed them again and with my headphones in my ears I walked past. Hands in my pockets hoping to make it through without any eye contact. I assumed the headphones would do the trick as they tend to be the universal sign of “Leave me alone”. Apparently I was wrong or this girl from Green Peace didn’t get the memo. She waved me down poking her head into my path to purposefully make eye contact. Waving at me mouthing the words “Hello” I pulled my ear pieces out and said “Hey”. What else do you say?
I asked “what can I do for you?” Part of me was actually curious as to what she was doing.
She began her sales pitch “Did you know they are destroying a historic forest here in the US the size of San Diego everyday?” To which I replied “No”
She continued “Did you know that they destroy these trees to make paper products and these trees have been cleaning the air for centuries?” Response again “No”
She had about 4 questions of this sort and finally I just asked “Pardon me, but why is this important to you?” “Why is it important to me?” she asked, I think it was to buy more time because I think she’s just use to getting a quick signature then moving on.
“Well if take care of the planet then we can leave a healthy planet for our children”
“Why would I do that?”
“Well we want them to have a healthy place to be and be able to enjoy the beauty of the world as we do”
“Well it’s not fair for us to destroy our planet and not consider others”
“Why not? What’s wrong with that?”
Finally she began making harsher statements like
“Did you know in Haiti there are people living in mud huts while there are people in La Jolla (San Diego), CA who have million dollar mansions, and when they burn down they just go and buy another one?”
“So what’s wrong with that?”
“Well that’s not right?”
“So should everyone have mud huts or should everyone have million dollar mansions?”
Finally she asked “Are you a Jehova’s Witness?” I laughed telling her I wasn’t. But that I was a Christian and a student of philosophy and I was curious as to what was the underlying intention to putting so much effort out in what she did.
Her name was Gene. Gene said she did this because she felt it was a caring thing to do for others. To bring about awareness and maybe make a difference. I can respect that. I can agree that if you are doing something because it’s what you think will work then, why not. I began sharing with her some of my thoughts.
See we’re actually not too different. I think the planet and creation is important as well. I think it actually serves a purpose but the purpose is not just to provide for us in the areas of food and shelter. The creation and all it entails is actually a big sign. A big sign pointing to something bigger than itself. Something more wonderful than itself and more majestic. When I told Gene that creation actually is here to point us to God she replied “oh, but I don’t believe in God.” As if my whole world view just became obsolete. God’s existence doesn’t hinge on our belief. My or your belief in Him is actually irrelevant.
What does matter however is that if there is a God and if He has given us this creation as a testimony of Him what do we do? In steps my worldview. Because in my worldview there is not only a God who has made everything but one day He will judge everyone. I think the most loving thing to do is to tell them of this coming judgment. Then they can be saved and that would be more loving than telling people to sign sheets of paper to save trees.
She paused for a moment and gave me some feedback. Then she asked if she could ask a question without offending me “So I’m going to go to hell because I don’t believe in God? Because I’m a good person, I don’t kill or anything crazy” It was a great time for me to explain to Gene what it was that she had gotten wrong.
“Do you think you’re a good person? Allow me to ask you a couple of questions. How many lies have you told in your life?”
“What do you call someone who tells countless lies?”
“Have you ever stolen something?”
“what would that make you?”
“Have you ever taken God’s name in vain?”
“That’s called blasphemy and in the bible God says He will hold no one blameless who blasphemes His name”
“Now you can answer this question in your own heart”
She jumps in before I can ask and says “Have I ever had sex? yes what does that mean I’m a slut?”
“ok, well I wasn’t expecting that but no, it’s considered fornication and adultery”
Gene, if you die the Bible says you will face judgment. Standing before God you can see right now you’re not a good person but just going through 4 of the 10 commandments you’re a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulteress at heart who’s fornicated as well. The question is what should God do with you? Heaven or hell?
Her jokingness straightened up and said “I guess Hell, but I don’t believe in any of that.”
You’re belief in the judge doesn’t matter. But here’s the question “What did God do for you so you don’t have to go to hell?” She had no idea.
2000 years ago God became man. As a hand fills a glove so God became man in Jesus of Nazareth. He died on a cross for you taking the punishment you deserve. Then 3 days later rose from the dead defeating death. The question is what must you do to take advantage of that forgiveness? You must repent and trust in Jesus. Repent is an old fashioned word which means to turn back from your sins. Stop doing them then turn to Christ. Come to Jesus and trust in Him and His work not your own goodness. Gene plead for God to have mercy on you and He will save you? He will save you from … Him. All I can ask for you to consider and think about what I’ve said.
Her attitude was quiet and her expressions went from bubbly and happy to solemn and pensive. I had to leave Gene and head back to my civil duty as a juror. I don’t think it was an accident that I ran into Gene and we’ll be praying for her.