Monday, January 29, 2007

Local Wal-Mart Welcomes On-Camera Witnessing! (Part 2)

Our time doing on-camera interviews inside the local Wal-Mart began with a conversation, with Barbara (which I chronicled in my last article). Barbara was a very nice Mormon lady who, by the end of our conversation, realized that she was not a good person, according to God’s perfect standard. Although not convicted to the point of repentance and faith, she saw herself as guilty of breaking God’s Law.

The last conversation of the evening was with a young lady named Karey. As I made my way down the line of people waiting to have a book signed by Corbin Bleu (star of the Disney movie, “High School Musical”), I would periodically call out, “Would anyone like to be on television?”

When Karey heard the question, her hand shot in the air, a bright smile appeared on her face, and she shouted, “I do! I’m an actress!”

Karey was a 20-year old, full of life and personality. She obviously was not shy as she was drawn to the camera the way a moth is drawn to a bright light that pierces the dark of night.

I began the interview by asking Karey if she had any spiritual beliefs. “Like Corbin, I’m also a Christian. I believe Jesus died on the cross and He’s my personal Lord and Savior. And I’m very, very, very strong about that.” She said.

“So, what must a person do to go to heaven?” I asked.

“Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior; and read the Bible; and follow godly commands and do whatever it says; and try to be like the Lord. But lots of people sin. Everybody sins. But you got to do what you can. But pretty much accept the Lord as your Savior, and you’re at the top.” She answered.

“Do you think you have to be a good person to go to heaven?” I asked.

“You do.” She answered halfheartedly. “But there are bad people and there are good people. But I don’t really think that matters at all, because God knows what your heart is, and that’s pretty much all that matters.”

“Karey, would you consider yourself to be a good person?” I asked.

Both her face smile and her eyes brightened. Now less reflective and more self-assured, she said, “Umm, yeah, I would.”

“Could I ask you a few questions to see if that’s true?” I asked.

“Sure!” She exclaimed, with a chuckle.

I asked Karey if she could name any of the Ten Commandments. She was able to name six. I asked her if she was able to keep the Commandments. She said, “Growing up, you tend to want to have more freedom. But I try to keep them, but nobody can be perfect. When you fall you just have to get back up and try again.”

As soon as I asked Karey if she had ever told a lie, she shrugged her shoulders while pulling her chin down to her chest. “Yes.” She answered. When I asked her what that made her, she made eye contact with me and answered, “A sinner.”

Having not uttered the word I was looking for, I asked her what she would call me if told her a lie. With a half-grin, half-snarl on her face she said, “A liar.”

Karey denied ever stealing anything or taking the Lord’s name in vain, but she was quick to admit to not obeying her parents. “You mentioned murder.” I pointed out to her. “I hope I’m not talking to a bona fide axe murderer. But have you ever been really angry with someone?” I asked.

“Yes, I have.” She answered.

“Have you ever said, even inside, ‘You know, I think I hate that person’?” I asked.

“Yes, I have.” She answered.

“Did you know that the Bible says that whoever hates their brother has committed murder in their heart?” I asked.

“Really?” She asked. “I forgot about that one.”

“Have you ever wanted anything that doesn’t belong to you?” I asked.

“Of course.” She answered.

“You mentioned adultery. How would you define adultery?” I asked.

“Well, number one, if you’re married and you end up falling for somebody else and have sex with them; that’s committing adultery. Or kiss them. Basically disobeying your wife or your husband is adultery.” She answered.

“Jesus actually said that whoever looks upon another person to lust after them—to want them in an inappropriate way, has already committed adultery with that person in their heart. Have you ever looked at anybody, ever in your life, with that kind of desire?” I asked. I forgot to remind her of the murder in her heart; but honestly, I was having a hard time keeping track of all the commandments she admitted breaking.

Karey thought for a moment before she answered. “Probably a couple of times. Nobody’s perfect, though. Everybody sins. You just have to learn to control that—the feelings and everything like that.”

“Now, obviously everything you are guilty of, I am guilty of, too. But, Karey, by your own admission, you are a lying, adulterous, coveter who disobeys her parents. Does that sound like the definition of a good person?” I asked.

Karey tilted her head slightly toward the ground. The smile on her face was now one of embarrassment—like the smile of a child who was just caught in a lie. She shook her head and answered in a soft voice, as if she didn’t want anyone else to hear. “No.”

In order to emphasize the point, I asked Karey to consider the following.

“Think about it. Let’s say you and I were friends from school, and you invite me over to have dinner with your family. We walk in the door and you say, ‘Mom, dad; I want you to meet Tony. Tony is a lying, thieving, coveter who disobeys his parents and commits adultery in his heart. But other than that, he’s a pretty good guy.’ What do you think they are really going to think of me?”

Karey grimaced for a moment before she answered. It was as if she realized that the truth she was about to apply to me, applied to her, too. “That you’re a bad person.” She answered.

“So, if God judges based on the Ten Commandments, if you were to die today and He were to judge based on His perfect standard, do you think He would find you innocent or guilty of breaking His Law?” I asked.

“Probably guilty.” She answered. It is not uncommon for people to use the word “probably” when answering this question. I think they use the word to try to minimize the weight of a guilty verdict in their own heart and mind.

“And if He finds you guilty, do you think you would go to heaven or hell?” I asked.

“Probably hell.” She answered. Again she used the word “probably”—probably for the reason previously mentioned.

“Does that concern you at all?” I asked.

She quickly answered, “Yes. Yes.” There was no “probably” attached to this answer.

I took Karey through the courtroom analogy and quickly affirmed that it would be good news if someone entered the courtroom and paid the fine she had no hope of ever paying.

Karey was quick to affirm every aspect of the gospel. She had heard it all before. Based on the conversation thus far, I was confident that Karey had only given intellectual assent to the truths of the gospel.

“You and I are on the same flight, flying to Hawaii. We’re halfway to Hawaii (obviously over water), and the pilot comes on the air and says, ‘Folks we’ve lost our engines and we’ve lost our electrical power. The plane is going down. There’s nothing we can do about it. We’re sorry. There’s a parachute under your seat.’

“You and I both look under the seat. We both see the parachutes under our seats. We believe the parachutes are there. We’re happy to see them. I put my parachute on. You don’t put yours on. We both jump out of the plane. Which one of us is going to survive?” I asked.

“You.” She answered.

“Because I put on the parachute, right?” I asked.

“Right.” She said.

“And that’s what saving faith is.” I explained. “It’s not simply believing in our head—looking at a parachute and being glad it’s there, but believing to the point that we actually put it on and trust that it is going to open when we jump out of the plane.

“The Bible says that we need to repent of our sin. We actually have to turn away from our sin. Now, that’s more than just saying we’re sorry. We should be sorry for breaking God’s Law. But we actually have to turn away from it; to the point that we are grieved anytime we do anything that would disappoint God—that would be sin against Him. And we have to trust Jesus Christ alone for our salvation

“Have you ever done that?” I asked.

Karey quickly answered, “Yes, I have.”

“When did that happen?” I asked.

“When I was about seven or eight.” She answered.

“Do you think that at that age you understood what it meant to repent and turn away from your sins. Or did you simply pray a prayer and ask Jesus into your heart, and hope for the best?” I asked.

“Well, my parents taught me well. They taught me from the time I was four until the time I was seven, when I actually did it.” She said. “I had an idea, but I was still pretty young, so I was trying to learn about it. But I had a pretty good idea, I would say.”

“What’s your walk with the Lord like today?” I asked.

She thought for a second. “It’s on the rocks right now. Like I said, everybody falls. But I’m learning to trust more in Him and read my Bible, and just try to do better; because I know I’m not perfect. But I want to try to be. And I want to try to keep those commandments. I don’t want to end up down there. I want to end up, up there.”

“I think the Law shows us both that we’re never going to meet up to God’s standard, right?” I asked. “We could never be good enough, right?”

Karey agreed.

“If we could be good enough to earn heaven, then it doesn’t make sense for God to come down and die, if we could get to heaven on our own.” I said.

Again, Karey agreed.

“If I’m hearing you right, I think there might be some question in your heart.” I said.

“Yes, Yes.” She replied.

“Does that concern you?” I asked.

“Yes, it does.” She answered.

“Is there any reason why you wouldn’t get right with God, right now?” I asked.

“No. No. I guess I just have problems. I have big problems. And as those problems got bigger I just fell away. But I know I need to set myself straight and turn to Him again, and get right with Him again.” She said. Her eyes began to water. The once jovial young lady who couldn’t wait to be on camera, was not very serious.

“And the consequences if you don’t?” I asked.

“I will end up like a lost person. I will be lost.” She said. “And I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to be lost.”

“And lost people go, where?” I asked.

“Down to hell.” Karey said without hesitation.

“I could tell by looking at your eyes that you don’t want that.” I remarked.

“No, I don’t. Not at all.” She said.

“What would keep you from getting right with God, today?” I asked.

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” She answered.

“Have you ever cried out to Him?” I asked. “Not just, ‘Lord, my life’s a mess.’ And not just, ‘God forgive me and I’m going to try to do better.’ But, ‘Lord, I want to give my entire life to you. I really want to turn from my sin. I know I can’t do it on my own. And I don’t want to face eternity in hell.’ It sounds like you haven’t done that yet.” I said.

“I have. I have. But like I said, I fell away.” She said. “I’m willing to go back to church and get right with Him again. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

“Well, there’s nothing you can do to save yourself.” I said. “Filling a church pew on Sunday morning isn’t going to do it. Trying to be a better person is not going to do it. There are a lot of nice people in hell because they trusted in their own goodness.

“You mentioned that things aren’t going well for you right now, in certain areas of your life. But that doesn’t change who God is; and that doesn’t change your need for Him.

“Karey, I may never see you again; but I care about you. I don’t want to see you go to hell. I want to see you in heaven. And I know that the only way is through turning from your sin and putting your trust in Christ alone. So, please, please do that.” I pleaded.

“I will.” She said.

I thanked Karey for talking to me. We shook hands and I left her with copies of “How To Live Forever Without Being Religious” and “You Have The Right To Remain Silent.”

Karey said, “I will.” I hope she does. I hope she repents and receives Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Pray with me to that end. And may our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ glorify Himself by saving Karey’s eternal soul. I do hope I see her in heaven, someday.

1 comment:

ccanuck said...

I have to tell you that I felt the same when I read this, I have a 4 year old girl. The thought of this happening is truly frightening. It gives me the shudders, it is good sometimes to be reminded just how close to the abyss we stand, how near to death we are and how quickly our lives could be over.