The conversation happened many years ago, and it hardly qualified as a good attempt at presenting the gospel, although I do agree that grace means little to someone who doesn’t believe she (or he, but in this case it happened to be a she) has violated God’s law. I felt compelled, that day, to confront a sinful choice in her life, ignoring the fact that, because Jesus had never been Lord in her life, sinful choices were pretty much inevitable for her. So, instead of keeping the focus on Jesus, I centered my “message” on morality.
Obviously, she didn’t come to Christ that day. In fact, I never saw or heard from her again. Her insistence on living in immorality saddened me then, and it still saddens me. How much better it would have been for her and her daughters if she had turned from sin to live in obedience to the Lord! I wish I had focused on the grace He offered rather than arguing with her.
In short, I blew an opportunity to present the Gospel.
But part of the conversation continues to intrigue me. She was very firm in her position that God does not have an absolute standard of right and wrong, while at the same time the wrongs she suffered as a child gave her an exemption from any moral code God might impose on anyone else.
My bent toward logic kicked in, and I challenged her notion that the abuse inflicted on her could possibly be wrong, given her premise that no absolute standard for right and wrong exist. As a Christian, of course, I completely agree that child abuse is, if I may use the word, absolutely wrong.
But then, I believe that the Lord has established moral absolutes. Clearly, she had great difficulty accepting such a premise. Like so many people born after 1960, she echoed the philosophy that God surely wouldn’t impose any standards of morality on her, especially in light of the abuse she had suffered! If God really did have moral standards, she reasoned, He owed her an exemption.
I wanted her to see that she couldn’t have it both ways. If God doesn’t hold her to a standard of right and wrong, on what authority does she judge her abuser as having wronged her? And why did his sinful actions excuse her sinful reactions?
Thankfully, God indeed does have a standard, whether we agree with it or not! He will hold this woman, her abuser and me accountable for violating His law. I, of course, will find my defense in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, which pays the penalty for my wrongs. Even more wonderful, the power of His resurrection enables me, as it enables every other Christian, to resist temptation.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ~~1 Corinthians 1o:13 (ESV)
I wish I could have gotten to the point of explaining to her that His blood would also cover her, giving her true exemption from His righteous judgment. But, to someone who doesn’t believe standards of right and wrong apply to her behavior or lifestyle choices, I guess His grace is somewhat meaningless.