Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How Important Is Love?

I once told a story about someone coming to skate on a pond in my yard. The ice was very thin, yet a man from town had driven his son out into the country and was coming to bring his little boy for a skate.

I yelled out to the man, “The ice is too thin. Don’t go on it or you’ll fall through.”

He replied, “Well I happen to believe that the ice isn’t too thin. I’ll do what I want to do thank you very much.”

Fearing for their safety I ran up to them and said more forcefully, “Don’t do it. If you continue with this plan you and your child will die.”

“Quit trying to shove your beliefs down my throat. I have a right to believe what I want to believe and besides, you have no proof that your beliefs about the ice are more correct than my beliefs.”

What would you do if you were me? Would you act like a fanatic? Would you get physical? Would you let them believe what they want to believe without further protest? What is one’s responsibility?

The story about the pond is fiction but to me it’s no different with our eternal life. No doubt that I sometimes challenge other’s beliefs in an ineffective way. On the other hand my interactions with atheists have very little to with trying to change the beliefs of any given atheist. I firmly believe that the keys to hell are locked from the inside. The reason that I react as I do in some of my posts is that I fear someone, an innocent so to speak, will be influenced by the atheist’s lies that the ice is just fine for skating.

And yet is it my place to “make” someone see the light? Forget for a moment whether or not my style is the right one for the situation. Do I, or does anyone have a right or duty to try to turn people from certain disaster? God seems to have paid a tremendous price so that people could determine their own course for life everlasting.

Ignoring the reality that God came to earth to live out his days in the harshest of realities, an atheist blogger, not two days ago, accused God of creating a world of sorrows and suffering and then failing to notice the difficulties which His creatures were enduring. God has most certainly not ignored evil. He has most certainly not been unaware of the effects of evil; He was tortured to death at the hands of evil. And yet God uses evil to bring about good and one of the highest forms of good that we humans experience is free will and self-determination. This is in fact the only way that God can get the kind of people He desires to live in His future kingdom. Those who are in heaven will only be those who want to be there; those who want to live in the presence of God for eternity. As has been forcefully pointed out to me, manipulating, harassing, coercing or in anyway attempting to force people into the kingdom of heaven is not just useless, it’s wrong. People need to be allowed to reject God, to skate on ice that’s too thin, to carry on in willful ignorance right to the very end.

That’s hard.

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