1/10/16 Dave about 50
“I am the closest person to God most people will ever meet” a man named Dave told me in a grocery aisle outreach conversation this afternoon. “I’m sure you can just see God’s light streaming from me. I am all about sacrifice, and I know in my heart that God is very pleased with me” he said. These kinds of statements went on and on, and in all my witnessing conversions I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who is so blatantly and arrogantly convinced of their own righteousness before God and men. I actually thought he was joking for a while, but he was serious. If I didn’t believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, I would have abandoned the conversation very early on, but as we talked I learned more about why he believes such outrageous claims. They were just a caricature of the self-righteous attitudes that many people have carried out to their logical extreme. Like so many, Dave had rejected the mirror of God’s word and God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible, becoming self-deluded past the point of reason. Dave told me how he had rejected what he criticized as the manipulative fear-mongering teachings of sin and punishment in the Bible, and fashioned his own views about God based on what he felt about God “in his heart”. His version of God was a loving God who doesn’t judge anyone, so for Dave becoming close to God meant not changing his behavior, but changing God. For Dave it was about being “enlightened” rather than becoming righteous through repentance and faith in Jesus. But a loving God does judge, so I asked Dave – “If God is to be loving, wouldn’t He hate sin and its consequences?” I gave examples of the terrible consequences of human sin and, amazingly, Dave’s concept of God left no room for the judgment and punishment for sin. For example, he believed that God would see a child being molested or abused and continue to just be “loving” with no judgment, hatred or anger at what was happening. For Dave, denying that God judges the sins of others means that his own sins will also escape judgment – and where there is no judgment or condemnation, there is no need for a savior. I told him “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Dave had found the way that seems right to him; let’s pray that he finds the way to be right with God.