8/28/12 Irasmo, 47
On my way home from work I stopped at a park and began a conversation with a man named Irasmo, who had just arrived to fish at the lagoon there. In answer to my questions about his beliefs he told me he has drifted away from his Catholic upbringing, but believes God would say he has never hurt anyone, has been responsible for his family and that he would go to heaven. "I do my best and I still believe in God, so I think He would allow me into heaven". But this doesn't necessarily make us "good", for God rightfully expects us to do our best with what He has given us. I explained this to Irasmo, helping him to see that God doesn't really owe us anything. "God is loving, but he is also just, so what he really owes us is punishment for breaking His laws". I took some time to really explain these points, and went on to explain how God in his mercy has allowed Jesus to take the punishment we deserve. I thought I explained this fairly well also, and I really believe Irasmo understood and agreed with every point I was making. Yet at the end when I asked where he stood with God, his answer hadn't changed: ""I do my best and I still believe in God, so I think He would allow me into heaven". What happened? I don't think he was lying or insincere about his agreement with what I said. He understood and agreed with the individual points of the Gospel, but he just couldn't put it all together to see the "big picture.". And why would he be able to on his own? The idea that he can't earn salvation but that Jesus has paid the penalty that he deserves goes against a lifetime of belief in his own good works. I think my role may have been just helping educate Irasmo about the facts of the Gospel. He needs the Holy Spirit to help him put it all together, and His timing is different from mine.