9/23/10 Omar 30
He doesn't go to church or read the Bible or even pray except when he's in trouble but in some ways Omar has a better understanding of God than most religious people I've met. He knows that we can't hide anything from God, yet has seen many church people do their religious duty in church on Sunday morning only to act like the devil the rest of the week. He knows God's standard is perfection, and that no amount of good works can save us, yet he sees church people attempt to earn God's favor with good deeds. Omar will have none of this. He was sitting on a park bench texting someone and I almost passed by thinking he was too busy to talk. Yet I did stop to ask about his beliefs and during our conversation he was so interested he must have ignored 10 phone calls. Omar can't relate to the Catholic tradition he grew up in, so he has just neglected his faith. He didn't think it possible to approach God without hypocrisy, until I told him about the forgiveness he can have in Jesus. He knows good people don't go to heaven because there aren't any, but forgiven people do. But like the Ephesians in Acts 19, his idea was that God will just forgive us automatically when we confess our sins. That may sound nice, but its only half the story. In repentance, we confess and turn away from our sins, but the other side of the same coin is faith - we turn from sin and in faith we turn to Jesus. I encouraged Omar to repent and trust Jesus today.