>Generally, I read and study at home. This day was different and eventually I would see why. I ended up at Starbucks and it was empty. I had my spread of books out on my small table and generally this also serves as a “force field”. People see the Christian books and make every effort not to make eye contact and especially not conversation. Which generally is fine with me as this isn’t a trip with the intention to evangelize but to read. To the point because it is really more interesting.
Reading a book labelled in bold letters on the cover “COVENANT THEOLOGY” as woman asked me “Are you studying to be a minister?”
“Well…yes” lowering my book to notice a black woman in her 40s. Polite and curious I suppose.
“Are you Catholic?”
“No….” we began to talk about me a little bit then I continued “Are you in the faith?”
“Oh yes. I go to church in Atlanta. We have a big church, like 2000 people.”
“impressive. i’m not sure i would know what to do in a church that size”
“oh it’s great. when they preach everyone really gets into it”
We continued to talk about her church experience and some trivial discussions about southern churches. She takes the conversation for a turn.
“Let me ask you something.”
“You believe in tithing?”
I’m sure my face looked perplexed at the question because, who gets that question? After asking her to clarify her question I went on “well, that’s really more of an Old Testament thing given to the Jews. The whole 10% thing. Now it’s a little different and they would be called ‘offerings’ but I think it’s really different because it involves prayer and wisdom”
“Do you think prayer works?”
“well…of course” 1st flag goes up in my head. “Klarissa (her name) let me ask you something, when you die where do you think you will go?”
“To heaven I hope!” she chuckles.
“hmm. well why is that?”
“Because, I try to live right. I mean maybe I don’t call my mom as often as I should have but I think I do right.” 2nd flag and we’re in dialog.
“That’s great. Let me ask you something else, do you think you’re a good person?”
“A good person? Well yeah, I’m pretty good”
“How many lies do you think you’ve told in your life?”
“Lies? pshh I can’t even count”
“hmm. How about stealing, you ever steal anything?”
“small stuff but yeah”
“What do you call someone who steals things?”
“A thief” her smile is now nervously covered by her hand. It is obvious the Law of God is beginning to show her something.
“Klarissa, how about anger, you’ve ever been so mad at someone you…well you hated them?”
“My ex. He broke up saying he wants to marry someone else so yeah I’m …
“yeah haha I’m pissed off!!”
“hmm, the bible says that if we hate someone in our heart, God sees us as a murderer.”
“How about blasphemy?’
“You mean like saying “
“well, yeah or even not giving God’s name the due honor”
“yes, i have” somberly she is realizing something radical
“Klarissa, that’s very serious. God says He will hold no one blameless who blasphemes His name” Wrapping it up I turn the next corner of the conversation.
“If you died tonight and you would stand before God in judgment. According to your own words not mine. This isn’t me judging you but what you’ve told me. That you’re a lying, thieving, blasphemous murderer at heart and if God gives you justice where would you go heaven or hell?”
“heaven. because God forgives”
“well why would He forgive you?” Big opportunity here and she misses.
“I don’t know because he’s that way”
Taking it to a court analogy “Let’s say a man has brutally murdered a woman then done horrible things with her body. He stands before the judge and the judge says, ‘You know what, I’m having a good day today, I’m going to let you off’ Would he be a good judge?”
“no” she looks offended
“You’re right. God is even more just than a judge, He is holy and perfect. So the question remains, if God gives you justice, where will He send you? Heaven or hell?”
“Hell I guess”
“does that concern you? It should. Klarissa right now you’re in trouble. God’s wrath is being poured out on you. Right now God is angry with you. The bible says not only is he angry with you but you are His enemy.”
“yeah! what do I do?” she says concernedly.
“Here’s the question, what did God for you that you don’t have to go hell?”
Her response was totally blank. No idea. No clue. Couldn’t even think of a word. She had previously ranted and raved about her church but now in her dire moment that her life hinged on she couldn’t even tell me what her only hope could be. I wish I could write her pastor to tell him “Shame on you for failing your church!!”
“Klarissa, 2000 years ago God became flesh in the man of Jesus of Nazareth. He lived a perfect life then went to the cross. On the cross he took the wrath you deserve. He died and rose 3 days later. To wipe your record clean. Then you can have not only a full pardon. Not only will God look on you as if you’ve done nothing wrong, but he’ll look on you as if you’ve done only right!”
“well what do I do?” she asks me as if to hurry to the part where she no longer worries.
“Here’s what you need to do. You need to repent. You need to” she interrupts trying to understand”
“well how do i do that?”
“You plead the mercy of the Judge, you plead to God to have mercy on you. You pray to Him for example ‘God you are holy and I’ve offended you. Forgive me a sinner.’ However you go on to do it is between you and him. Not me. Then that trust you had in yourself, you put that trust in Christ. Don’t trust your works, but trust the works that Christ has done. Then you will be saved. God will look on you with delight.”
I went on to elaborate to her that when I asked her earlier about her faith she never mentioned Christ. That made me very concerned for her and it appears my concerns were found to be legitimate.
“Can you write this down?!” she asked excitedly. I laughed and quickly wrote some places for her to read in the Scriptures then reminded her about the importance of repentance and faith.