7/19/12 Mike, about 30
I asked a man named Mike who was out walking his Rottweiler if he would be willing to answer an interesting question. "If I can keep walking my dog, sure " was his answer so we walked and talked. "Do you believe anything comes next after this life?" "You mean like reincarnation and stuff like that?" "Well, yeah, what do you believe?" He thought about this awhile and told me he thought he would go to heaven "because God is supposed to forgive". I asked "Does he forgive everyone then?" "That's a good question, I hadn't thought of that." Mike said. We talked about this awhile and I guessed correctly that his belief that "God is supposed to forgive" comes from 1 John 1 that says "if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Like many people, Mike felt that God is obligated to forgive anyone who confesses their sins, but they don't give any thought that He is also just and requires a just punishment for sin. "That verse in 1 John is directed toward people who are already forgiven as Christians but need to maintain their fellowship with God. It's like a man who is legally married, but causes an argument with his wife. Even though they remain legally married, their relationship needs to be restored. Daily confession is important to keep in fellowship with God, but the real question is, have you entered into that right legal relationship with God in the first place?" This really made sense to Mike, and helped me gain his interest in further conversation. Mike is a security guard at Chicago's infamous Cook County jail. He deals with murderers and rapists daily, and feels he needs to be forgiven for the way he acts toward them, but at the same time feels he is a much better person by comparison. Please pray for him. He tries to find forgiveness simply through confession, but first needs to find a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus.