She said Hitler should go to heaven…

It never ceases to amaze me what I hear people say when we begin to engage about spiritual matters. But today may have taken the cake. It took dinner too I think. 

I was at work doing training for a new job when I met a lady named Nancy who was a volunteer. She was a friendly woman, probably in her 60s or 70s and we began a pleasant conversation. After a while I felt it would be good to turn the conversation toward spiritual things. This is something I practice often because I believe the message of Jesus and the destination of others’ souls to be important enough for the spiritual to be brought up whenever possible. 

I asked Nancy if she attended a church. She said she did not currently, but grew up Catholic and had knowledge of the faith. However, she admitted that she did not have much knowledge of the Bible. As we moved through our conversation, she made it clear that a major sticking point for her when considering Christianity is believing in a God who sends people to hell. “How could God send someone like Ghandi to hell?” Nancy asked. This question of how a loving and merciful God could send people to hell is one that I have heard often, it is a sticking point for many people, not just Nancy.

I asked Nancy if she thought everyone should go to heaven, to which she said yes. I inquired about Hitler. Surely not the man responsible for the death of 11 million innocent lives I thought to myself. But indeed, when she said everyone, she meant everyone. She said that everyone is justifying their actions and will realize their errors after death. Should God punish our sincere efforts while on earth to do what we each thinks is good?

This is really a form of relative truth which maybe people are turning to today. If it is true for you, then it is true. When I encounter this perspective I often use the “color of the chair” illustration. I look at the nearest chair. For example, if the nearest chair is blue, I will say, “If I say the chair is red and you say it is blue, are we both right?” Usually the person will concede, the chair is blue, that is absolutely true. Then, I can argue for absolute truth.

I was astounded by Nancy’s viewpoint. Even Hitler should achieve heaven, because he really did not know better! Dear Lord, I am glad she did not have a career in the judicial system!

I was not able to convince Nancy to drop everything and follow Jesus but I am hopeful that I helped her understand absolute truth and that there could be eternal consequences for our sins.

Where does my passion for evangelism come from?

As I begin blogging about evangelism, I think a good place to start would be to answer the question, “Where does my passion for evangelism come from?” The simple and short answer would be, “God”. But allow me to share a bit further.

I was raised going to church and knew God from a young age. However, it was not until the summer between my junior and senior year of high school that I took personal ownership of my faith. It was shortly after I had begun truly getting to know God that I began to feel broken and burdened for those that did not know Him.

I can recall one evening sitting at the front of the room near the alter after youth group had already been dismissed. I was crying and barely knew why, but I felt as though God was changing who I was and redirecting my passions. Not long after, I specifically remember laying in bed late one night, weeping and feeling such sorrow for people who did not know Christ the same way that I did. I imagined flying a plane over a distant, unreached people group and dropping Bibles down. Not sure what kind of evangelism that would be! Interestingly enough, I recently met a missionary who was evangelizing two villages in South America who have never been engaged with the Gospel and even have witches living in their midst. Maybe that is a small fulfillment of what I imagined nearly a decade ago.

Strange imagination or not, it was clear to me that an ache to reach the lost was being birthed within me. This growing new passion continued as I recall driving into church and again, crying because of sorrow for people who were spiritual lost. I would imagine people suffering in hell with no Savior to rescue them. The reality of that sobering thought still motivates me today. In fact, it is a thought that each of us should not shy away from but rather meditate on often as a motivation to share our hope with others and be part of someone else’s rescue.

During my senior year, I gathered the courage to call one of the popular guys on the football team on the phone and share about Jesus with him. I vividly remember, with tears rolling down my face, sharing with him that only God could satisfy him and all other pursuits in life would leave him empty.  I have had other contact with him since, but have yet to hear that he has placed his faith in Christ. Seeds have been planted however, and I still have faith one day he will believe. He is someone to continue to intercede for in prayer. 

That interaction sparked a habit I have formed of sharing my faith with anyone that God sends my way. When I first meet someone, my mind now immediately ponders where they will spend eternity rather than where they live, work or go to school. In future blogs, I will be sharing all kinds of stories with you of experiences I have had sharing my faith with people and the lessons I have learned.

My motivation to share my faith has been simplified to two thoughts over the years. Really, two realities. Heaven and Hell. Both places are real. In fact, more real than earth because they are eternal while earth will one day be destroyed. And every person, so special and unique, will spend their forever in one of those two places. The truth is, I know the secret to get to heaven. And it’s my responsibly and my privilege to make that secret known to those around me. That’s why I evangelize. And I pray this blog is an inspiration for you to go out and do the same!

Why do you evangelize? I would be curious to hear what motivates you. Drop a comment below!

In Christ,

Jesse