10/27/09 Steve, about 19
I stopped Steve, a young black guy dressed hip-hop style, with a million dollar tract as he walked to his job at a Lowe's home store. He laughed in surprise and I pointed out the question about heaven on the back. "Are you a good person?" I asked and he enthusiastically said he was. "Good enough for heaven?" "Oh definitely!" "Do you mind if I give you a good person test?" "No problem" he said with confidence. "It's based on the Ten Commandments" "Well I'm not perfect..." "How many lies do you think you've told?" "I've told a lot, but I've told a whole lot more truths" "Well you should tell the truth, that's expected of you." "I get this all the time from my Mother. She's a devoted Christian." "How many lies does it take to be a liar?" "Just one". After personalizing sin in this way, using just 5 commandments, Steve ran out of excuses, and was ready to hear about Jesus in a new light, even though he had grown up in a Christian home and, until the last few years, attended the Baptist church he was baptized at. I shared the Gospel but focused on his sin and need for repentance, because Steve suffers from spiritual entitlement - the idea that God owes him something because of his Christian background and basic goodness. He told me he no longer attends church because of the hypocrisy he sees there and doesn't want to be a hypocrite himself. I could tell he is hanging on to sin so I decided to be very blunt: "What sin is so important to you that you are willing to go to Hell for it?" "You know, you're right. I think God sent you to me today!. I've got some serious thinking to do. Thanks man, for talking to me." I'm glad I did.