Monday, January 19, 2015
Some Things I Know
She was 86, I believe, and the last time we had knocked on her door a couple of years ago she had refused to talk to us. But the ministry being what it is, Darnel and myself once again found ourselves on her doorstep. She answered the door in her housecoat and I went into my usual routine.
"Hello , we're from Camden Baptist Church and we're out here giving out these gospel tracts. They have some Bible verses in them about the Lord Jesus Christ."
She refused. You see, she has been an active Jehovah Witness for over half a century. She claimed that either her dad or her grandad had been around when that particular organization got it's start. She told us about her door-knocking in support of the Brooklyn-based cult. She told us about how much this part of town had changed. She had known Darnell as a boy, and had known his parents. She talked, and she talked, and she talked some more. In 86 years she had seen a lot of things come, and a lot of things go.
I asked here my usual JW questions. I asked her to define the gospel, and I asked her how a person could get their sins forgiven. She admonished me to call God by his name Jehovah. I told her that while Jehovah is certainly a valid name for God according to the Bible, that is was equally valid to call him by one of this other names; Jesus Christ. Her definition of the gospel was some sort of nebulous kingdom concept, a response I've heard from more than one Russelite.
I asked her if I was dying, with no time to make amends for my sins against God, what hope could the watchtower teachings offer me just before I step out into eternity. She admitted that there would be no hope for a person in that situation. I asked her again how a person gets their sins forgiven. She had no answer.
Now think about this. She is more than twice my age, and has been actively involved in her religion since my mom was a teenager, and yet has no idea how to get her sins forgiven. She knows the names of her kids and her grandkids. She knows the name of them men who used to own all that land where the paper mill used to be. She knows, no doubt how to cook and clean and care for children. She knows how to garden. But the one thing that really matters in life she does not know, and despite a lifetime spent working her way to heaven, is unprepared to face God. That time spent studying her New World Translation, and those years spent spreading the Russellite doctrine have done absolutely nothing to wipe away or deal with her guilt before God. Those people have lied to her and bound her in eternal chains of falsehood. She has passed those lies onto others, and those lies are as much a part of her now as her own name. Without God's intervention she will drop off into the lake of fire thinking that she had done right , and believing that she had met God's expectation of her.
I may not know much. I'm useless as a carpenter, and hopeless as a mechanic. I still don't know much about being a husband or a father. But I do know a couple of things,. I know that God took the vile mess of a life I brought to him, and he fixed it. The evidence for that is all around me. I know that he continues to fix it even as I try to mess it up. And I know that I know that I know that my sins are forgiven. Oh, what a thing to know!
I'll probably never live to be 86. But by God's mercy, and by God's grace, I am prepared for what is on the other side. I know that I know that I know that God has given me eternal life, and that life is in his son.