I can’t remember how we got on the topic, but somehow my cousin and I got on the topic of salvation. I was driving her home from school, and it must have been a song or a podcast I was listening to or something I was saying. She told me that the kids at her school got on some sort of ‘are you saved’ kick. They were going around the school asking people if they’re saved. Her reply was, “I don’t really know what that means.” The response to her response? “Well, if you’re not saved, you’re going to Hell.”
That was it. The student just left it at that. I was at once infuriated, saddened, and ashamed. I groaned as she was telling the story because I knew how it would end. No one would offer to explain what salvation is. They would only offer the reassuring statement that she is, in fact, going to Hell. I was right.
We’ve had several conversations about Christianity, salvation, and church. Each time, I feel like I am a bumbling idiot, and I hope that in my ramblings something reaches her heart. I know it’s nothing I can do or say. It has to be God. Seriously. It has to be. I couldn’t save anyone with my scattered thoughts and words. I had to laugh (and cry a little) at myself because I’ve never been a very good verbal communicator. I often get tongue-tied even when talking to friends about my day.
When I tried to explain what salvation is, I did what I normally do and try to start at the beginning. I feel like I have to give a back story to just about everything. I’ve tried to stop doing it, but I can’t. It’s just what’s in me. It works better in writing, but I end up sounding a lot like what I think Moses sounded like.
In all of my ramblings, I was thinking on how I was never told how to present the Gospel to someone. If I was, I don’t remember it. In fact, I don’t even think I was told the Gospel. Again, if was, I don’t remember. It could have zoned out, but I don’t remember anything. I just remember a list of do’s and don’t’s. I thought back to high school, and I wondered what I would have done if 1. I was confronted like my cousin or 2. if I were the one discovering a friend or peer were not saved. (I certainly wouldn’t have asked.)
If confronted, I probably would have taken offense and answered with a snarky ‘yes’ and walked away. Good witness.
If discovering, I probably would have either said nothing or would have said some canned “Gospel”. More than likely, I would have said nothing. What I can remember from high school, I was walking in a fog of legalism. I cannot remember knowing why I believed what I believed. I didn’t understand a lot, and I was dangerous in a bad way.
As hard as it is to admit, I’m not sure I was saved back then. It wasn’t cool if you weren’t saved at church camp. I think I assumed I was. I struggled a lot with holding my tongue. I was more hurtful with my words than I care to admit. All I felt was worldly sorrow about it, and I didn’t really do anything to change it. However, I can pinpoint a positive change in my character around January 2006. I grew up in church. I grew up knowing some church lingo, but I didn’t know the Bible. I knew about God, but I didn’t know Him. January 2006, though, I believe is when I believe God became real. His Word started changing me. He started changing me.
What led to the change? Well, that’s for another day. It’s a long process and a lot of stories that require my self-proclaimed famous flashbacks/ back stories.
I can say this. I am thankful for God’s patience. His patience is His mercy. He can save the church kid just like He can save the prostitute.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” Romans 3:23,24