Fear is a poor motivator.
Sermons on hell and damnation may lead people to the altar, but I wonder how effective they are in changing a man or woman’s heart, mindset, and life.
I was talking to a friend over a Hardywood Sidamo Coffee Stout this past Sunday, and trying to explain why, after a lifetime of “thanks, but no thanks” to the whole God thing, I had chosen to give Jesus a fair shot.
It wasn’t because I was afraid of hell, although I do believe it is real. I can’t actually conceptualize it enough to fully understand the implications of dying without the assurance of salvation, but I know it ain’t good.
The reason I became a Christian was because I heard other people talk about how awesome it was: how much God loved them and showed up in their lives, and they all said he would take my effed up, broken, insecure, unstable life and make it beautiful.
In our conversation Sunday I compared it to relationships: Let’s say you’ve been with someone for a while. At first it was exciting, and they said all the right things, but as time went on you saw only broken promises, hurt, and disappointment. Still, the thought of being alone was terrifying, so you really had nowhere to go.
Then, one day, your friend at work introduces you to someone new. He is kind, patient, and sweet, and as you get to know him better, you realize he keeps his word, he cares deeply for you, and he is a true, faithful friend. He loves you and wants to give you the world.
When you start to experience true love, it’s a lot easier to let go of a bad relationship.
The bad relationship was my life before letting God in. It was my relationship with myself and with others. Without the light of Christ, my journey was dark and filled with things that held no real value..empty relationships, chaos, and insecurity that ruled my days and left me hopeless and feeling utterly alone.
I chose to enter into a relationship with Jesus because I believed he was the true love I had been searching for. Ten years of getting to know him, and meeting other people who have experienced his love has only pushed me further into his arms. He is good, and he has done what I never could: made me whole, peaceful, secure, and joyful. It’s because of his love.
We’re all sinners. I get that. That’s why God’s love is even more amazing, because he wants us anyway! I think it people understood how much he longed to love them (not punish them!), we would see more hearts changed and lives restored.
What do you think?