3/12/10 Gus, about 30
After work I noticed I had a low tire so I stopped at the nearest tire repair shop and began a good conversation with Gus as he worked on my tire and afterward. Gus is Catholic but admitted he is just going through the motions, doing what he believes to be the bare minimum in his obligations to God by attending church. He thinks if God were to judge him today he wouldn't measure up "because I need to do more things to be nice to people and get more involved with church". I put him through a good-person test based on the Ten Commandments to help him realize his personal relationship with sin. He had plenty of excuses, such as his view that telling his wife he was at his brothers house when he was really at the tavern "really doesn't hurt anyone" but he soon admitted his guilt as a liar, thief, murderer-at-heart, etc. He said that yes, he deserves the punishment of hell and wants to know how to avoid it. He was relieved to hear of God's mercy in allowing Jesus to take the punishment he deserves on the cross and I counseled him to put his faith in Jesus, giving him additional materials to read. However, like so many people, Gus seemed to understand intellectually but without heartfelt conviction. I wonder how best to counsel people at this point. I don't want to lead people prematurely to the Lord and give them a false assurance of salvation, yet I don't want them to delay such an important decision either. As I drove away, I found myself wishing I had at least prayed with Gus about this important decision before I left.