“I don’t know.” She stares out over the river, her mind distant. “I mean, I try to do good. But my mind keeps on doing things. And I’ve done things.” She lapses into silence again. “I mean, I’ve done things that are bad. Really bad.” She looks down. “If it’s the Ten Commandments, if it’s really the Ten Commandments, I don’t know what I’d do.”
And I tell her.
I tell her it is the Ten Commandments. God says, “Be holy, as I the Lord your God am holy.” Jesus says, “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” He says, “Do this and you will live.”
I really don’t have any hope, either. Not if it’s based on the Ten Commandments. No way. “The soul who sins is the one who dies.”
But then I point her to Jesus. “So, Jesus was holy. He was perfect. He really deserved life! And do you know what happened to him instead?”
She nods, a little hesitant. “He died on the cross.”
“That’s right. And on that cross, he traded places with you. All your guilt. All your sin. All those thoughts? He knows how bad they are. And he died for you, in your place. The Bible says that God made him who had no sin be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
“He cried out, ‘It is finished.’ It’s paid. Everything you owe God… he paid it.”
And she smiles through the tears in her eyes.
“But… but shouldn’t I do something? Like, I can’t just go back to the way I was.”
“God isn’t a bad boyfriend. You’ve had boyfriends who said, ‘If you love me, you’d…’ right?”
She nods, a knowing look in her eyes.
“And you ended up hating them, resenting them, didn’t you? But God’s not that way. He doesn’t say, ‘If you loved me you’d…’ He just loves you. Period. And when someone loves you like that… it transforms you. So you don’t want to go back to the filth anymore.
“So, let’s go back to that question that started it. Let’s say you die tonight. You fly up to heaven. There’s God at the door, his arms crossed, and he asks you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ What do you tell him?”
And now her face is bright. “Go get Jesus!” she cries out.
Tonight was so amazing, being able to tell one more person who didn’t know about Jesus. To tell one more person that the work is done. That it’s complete. I didn’t write down everything we talked about; it’s just a summary. But what she said at the end, that’s word for word: Go get Jesus!
Yes. That’s what we need in our churches: Go get Jesus! That’s what it’s about. That’s what we need in our friendships as we comfort one another: Go get Jesus! And that’s what we need in our lives as we struggle, day in, day out: Go get Jesus! Here is God who loves us. Here is God who has saved us.
It is complete.
You don’t have to say, “I don’t know.” You don’t have to fear.
Go get Jesus.
He’s got you.