Monday, February 1, 2010

The choices we make

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life. – Deuteronomy 30:19,20 (NIV)

“Lies,” read the email’s subject line. I didn’t recognize the sender, but I clicked it open anyway.

“God is a myth,” I read. “Christianity is a religion designed to keep people down and control them. There is only nature, and man is a beast.”

Assuming the sender was someone who read my column, I responded.

“Christianity is not a religion,” I wrote. “Religion is man reaching up to God, trying to be good enough. Christianity is God reaching down to man and making him good enough.”

I explained that Christianity doesn’t bind me—it sets me free.

“It’s not about religion,” I wrote. “It’s about relationship—with God, who is real. Even though you don’t believe in Him, He knows you and loves you and wants you in heaven with Him forever.”

I closed with Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

His response made it clear his mind was made up, and nothing would change it. He said his piece, and I mine. So I left it go at that.

The next day, however, I received another email. “What’s the matter, Michele, cat got your tongue? Or have you come to the realization that everything you have believed in is a fraud? Let me know—if you dare.”

This was a person with his dukes up, spoiling for a fight. He wasn’t going to get one. God doesn’t need to prove Himself, and He certainly doesn’t need me or anyone else to defend Him.

“We have a free will to choose to believe in Him or not to believe in Him,” I wrote back. “I know Whom and in what I believe. That is solid, unchanging.”

I closed by telling him I would not debate the issue.

“Not because my faith in what I believe is weak, but because I don’t have to. You’ve made your choice, and I’ve made mine.”

“God is a fraud” was the subject line in the next email I received from him. I deleted it without opening it.

This reminds me of the man who scoffed at my third grade teacher, a nun: “What are you going to do when you die and find out there is no God?”

“What are you going to do when you die,” she said, “and find out there is?”

All week I found myself singing the words of an old hymn: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”*

It’s all about choice.

I’m standing on the Rock. What about you?

Dear God, thank you for revealing Yourself to us—through Your Word, through Your Son Jesus, through everything You created. Continue to draw us to Yourself, and show us those who are truly seeking You. Amen.

*From “The Solid Rock,” lyrics by Edward Mote, in Public Domain

Special-Tea: Matthew 7:24–27

More tea: 1 Corinthians 2:10–16; 2 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 1:18–23; Psalm 14:1

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