“Believing is a choice, Zach. You can’t force somebody to do it.” (William Sirls, The Reason)
I’m ashamed to admit but sometimes I wish people would just do what I tell them too…period. “Separate the clothes into darks and lights when you put them in the clothes hamper. The dog needs to be taken outside before we have to clean up a mess on the floor. The morning would run smoother if you would get some of this stuff done the night before.” I think that my way is best…or maybe I’m too lazy to make the effort to try something new, even if it is more efficient.
For most things, it’s not a big deal that my kids, friends, and family members want to choose for themselves. In fact, I think it’s human nature to want to make choices that affect your values, lifestyle, and in the case of children, their growing independence. As their mother who is training them to be fully functioning mature adults, I need to support them in their choosing.
However, when it comes to salvation and where you are going to spend eternity, the stakes are quite a bit higher. We’re not talking about a new hairstyle, particular food choices, or whether or not you’re going to clean your room. We’re talking about where you are choosing to spend eternity and that affects…well, forever.
The Bible is very clear that if we choose to admit we’re sinners and we can’t make it to Heaven by our own skills, but cry out to Jesus Christ and ask Him to take charge in our lives, then our place in Heaven with God is secure. However, if we choose instead to continue on the path of doing it our way, God is just as clear that our fate is sealed as well – to live a life separate from Him forever. Revelation 14:10-11 (NIV) describes it this way: “they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
Some people get angry at God for being mean and sending people to Hell. God isn’t mean and doesn’t send us to Hell. He allows us an alternative to what we deserve, which is Hell. By God’s grace, we can choose salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, and when we do that, we are saved from what we deserve…eternal damnation.
However, as much as I wish I could, I can’t make that choice for anyone. I can’t demand, force, belittle, challenge, or bribe someone to choose God. Just as God doesn’t choose for us, neither can we choose for others. What I can do, though, through my lifestyle, actions, attitude, and the grace God has given to me, share with those I love and others around me the gift that God so graciously offered me and I accepted so that they have the chance to choose for themselves. Because, the older I get, the more I realize, this choice is the most important one anyone will ever make.
I don’t want to waste time on things that don’t last when I can offer the best choice to those I love instead.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014