Oh! Now You Tell Me!
You may remember back in February when I wrote the article: "But You Didn't Tell Me" where I shared a story about my six year old grandson Bradyn getting in trouble at school for talking too much. I explained to him why it was important for him to mind his teacher and to behave and I warned him that his misbehavior not only affected him, but also affected others because someone was always looking up to him as an example. I also shared with Bradyn the traits that I saw in his life and his character that caused me to expect so much from him and that because I loved him, I expected him to live up to his full potential.
This talk helped for a few weeks but then Bradyn returned to his bad habits. Because he continued to be disobedient, it caused him to miss out on a road trip with me going to cattle sales in Tennessee and Kentucky. If he could not behave in class, he could not miss class to go with me. I will never forget the hurt on his face and the huge tears in his eyes when I told him he could not go with me because he had misbehaved. He looked at me with that heartbroken look and said: "But you didn't tell me." The truth was, I had told him several times. What I had not told him was that he could not go with me and stay in hotels if he did not behave. He knew to behave, he just did not think there was going to be any immediate consequences if he did not. I closed the story stating that so many times, we live our lives the same way; disobeying God's Word and doing what we know to be wrong thinking that we will get away with it. Jesus is indeed coming back to judge the world. Because we have free access to God's Word and the Gospel message, when He returns, just saying: "But You didn't tell me" will not suffice.
Well, Bradyn continues to make the headlines! This past Friday, while I was again on the road in North Dakota, Lisa called me to tell me that he had fallen and broken his arm just above the wrist. She said: "He fell off the freezer!" What? How could he have fallen off an upright freezer? What would he be doing on top of the freezer?
To make a long story short, Lisa had told Bradyn and his older brother Bryant to go outside and play so she could get baby Brooke to sleep. She had already gotten on to them several times while they were outside for climbing up and hanging from the basketball goal, so she told them one last time go get down and go play doing something else. I suppose those instructions were not specific enough!
Within just minutes, Bradyn came running in crying and holding his arm begging for help because it was hurting really badly. "Help me Grandmama! Please do something! It hurts so bad!" Lisa immediately saw that his arm was broken so she called me and his mama and headed for the emergency room. After he had calmed down just a little and while they were waiting for the x-ray results to arrive, she asked him what he was doing when he fell. He said; "I was climbing up on the freezer in the barn to get the key to the office so I could watch cartoons." Lisa said: "Why didn't you just ask me instead of sneaking? I would have let you in. You didn't have to try to sneak unless you were doing something you knew you were not supposed to do."
Well, that night at the dinner table after getting a temporary splint put on his arm, the story got a bit more interesting. Lisa said she noticed that a table on the porch of the office had been moved against the wall to a place where we usually kept an extra key. "Which one of you boys moved that table and got the key?" Bryant immediately denied it, but Bradyn just tilted his head and smiled. "Why did you do that?" she asked. "Because the outside door was also locked" was his response. His mother then said: "Well Bradyn, the same key that opens the barn also opens the office. Why didn't you just open the office while you had the key?" His response: "Oh, now you tell me!!!"
I about busted a gut when they told me that story! I can just imagine what he was thinking. Sitting there with a broken arm, knowing that he could have successfully gotten away with his plan uncaught and uninjured when he had climbed on the table and gotten the first key, 'if', he had just known that it opened both doors. He had seen us use both keys a number of times, but no one had ever told him that we just used different keys to save us steps. We never actually told him that both keys would open either door, but looking back, if we could have known that he would get hurt learning that lesson, we would have.
In the February article I mentioned earlier, I touched on the fallacy of trying to say on the Day of Judgment: 'but you didn't tell me' when we in America have free, unlimited access to the Gospel message and the Word of God. We have churches on every corner, daily church services and Christian programming on both television and radio, Bibles in every bookstore and hotel, and we have Christian missions, shelters and recover centers for the drug addicted, homeless, abused and downtrodden. I also alluded to the tragedy and the consequences of never actually telling those we know and love what they so desperately need to hear to be ready for the coming judgment. They already know there is a God, whether or not they know who He is. They already know they have sinned whether or not they know what to call it. What they need to know is that this God loves them so much that He sent His son Jesus to pay the debt for their sin so that they can know Him and experience this love, forgiveness, hope, peace and eternal life. They desperately need to hear and we so desperately need to tell them!
But, when do they need to hear? When would be the best time to tell them? Deathbed professions can be real and I have seen several, but wouldn't it be much better if they heard and had the chance to repent and follow Christ's plan for their lives before they got so hurt by the consequences of their sin? Wouldn't it be much better if they heard before they hurt or wrongly influenced others?
If I had had any idea that Bradyn would break his arm learning that both keys opened both doors, I would have surely made it a point to tell him--even if he was doing wrong when he got hurt. How much more should we intentionally warn those we love and take the time to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them if we already know for certain that they are going to get badly hurt and suffer greatly in life because of their sin, that they will surely hurt and cause suffering for others, and that when this life is over, they will also spend eternity in Hell; a place of separation and eternal, indescribable suffering and anguish?
We all know people that we have not told about Jesus? But, how much more hurt, pain, loneliness, rejection, hopelessness, condemnation and suffering are we willing for them to endure before we tell them that there is a God who loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives? Why are we willing to wait until they have to say: "Oh! Now you tell me!"
In Jeremiah 29:11 God said: "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future", so we know that God does not want anyone to suffer the consequences of a life of sin. Romans 10:13 says: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." But look at the three questions that follow in verses 14-15: (1). "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? (2) And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? (3). And how can they hear unless someone tells them? Who will that 'someone' be for the ones you love if not you? When will the right time be if not now?