Good News for a hurting heart. . . .
A friend of mine called me last week and told me that his friends from work were pressuring him to go to a strip club. He knew it was the wrong thing to do, and he didn't want to do it. He called me and I told him that those "friends" didn't have his best interest at heart and that he shouldn't go. He agreed with me and then hung up the phone. He then went anyway and left a message on my voice mail on my phone.
He was rife with guilt. He said he felt horrible that he went to that place, and then he really laid into himself. He said:
- I know that God could never forgive me for going to that place, especially because I ignored what you (Nathan) told me on the phone.
- I know God is going to send me to hell and I'm going to burn forever because I'm under his wrath.
- I know God could never love me now and that he's going to punish me for this.
- I know I'm a hypocrite and that I don't belong in this church, and I'll probably go one more time and then just leave Northland.
The Good News
Needless to say I felt like I should probably return his call. I called him back and I said, "I've got good news for you." I took him through a few verses on the subject to show him what the bible says about the matter. I think it's worth repeating because I know lots of us feel like this person did at the time.
Question: Is anyone righteous in and of themselves?
As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Question: But if I can't be righteous by myself . then I'm in trouble right?
"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. . . ."
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--"
Question: So I'm blameless in the eyes of God? How can that be?
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
The final verdict:
It does not matter how far you've fallen or how bad you've messed up. There is no place that you can go where God cannot come and rescue your hurting heart. And that's good news!
Oh, and by the way.. My friend felt much better after our conversation.