Separation from God
This past Sunday I was starting my usual afternoon pastoral nap when there was a knock at the door. I got up to answer the door and I found it was two of my neighbors. These neighbors happen to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.
They had stopped by a number of times to introduce themselves and to talk with me about who they are and what they believe.
Even though they know that I am a pastor they are not deterred from sharing their beliefs with me. Perhaps it is because I am a pastor and have a strong understanding of my faith and the Bible, that they have feel they have an audience with which to discuss their beliefs.
They were sharing with me articles from their latest magazine regarding the kingdom of God. However, our conversation quickly turned to thoughts about salvation.
How to ensure salvation
They were telling me all the things I needed to be doing to ensure my salvation.
Now, I am not afraid to talk with someone about the end times and what that means to me as a Lutheran Christian but in my mind there is a set time and a place for that.
When I encounter someone and we start to talk about God, especially when it is someone whom I do not know, I do not warn them about their potential to go to hell. I talk with them about a God who loves them, who cares for them and who will do anything for them.
I tell them about Jesus -- the one who preached God’s kingdom and embodied God’s love, the one who suffered and died on the cross and was raised again all because of his love for them and all humankind. But Alice and Geoff have a different approach and that was quite clear.
After they shared with me, I told them about my sermon earlier that day. I preached about Jacob seeing God for the first time and how we are called to see God, not only in the church but in the world as well.
I preached about how God comes to us to help us according to the spirit instead of according to the flesh. I said that this is all about a God who loves us, who cares for us.
They said that they do believe in the love of God, but it was also important to point out to people that if they do something wrong, then Jehovah is going to punish them.
This is where we do not agree.
Originally posted July 21, 2010, at Lutheran Grilled Cheese. Republished with permission of the author. Find a link to Joe McGarry’s blog Lutheran Grilled Cheese at Lutheran Blogs.