“I don’t take risks,” I told my friend as we sat at a table in the lunchroom of the building where we both worked. “I’m a pretty conservative guy.”
My friend had been trying to sell me his religion. Oh, he didn’t call it that. He said he wasn’t trying to sell me anything. He was, oh, what did he call it? Witnessing. Yeah, that’s what he called it. He said he was witnessing to me.
“I don’t risk my money on questionable stocks,” I said. “I wear my seat belt when I drive, and a helmet when I ride my bike. I don’t smoke. It’s too risky. And I don’t talk on my cell phone while I’m driving, either. I read somewhere that your chance of having an accident increases by 20% when you drive while talking on a cell phone.”
My friend nodded his head as I ticked off one by one the things I don’t do because they are too risky.
“You tell me I should risk everything on your Jesus. Just give myself and my whole life over to Him.”
“Not just your whole life on earth,” my friend said. “But your eternity.”
“Right,” I said, “my eternity, too. But, you know, the world is full of religions. One believes this, another believes that; most of them disagree with each other. I mean, if you want mass confusion, just look at the history of religion on this planet. Wars have been fought in the name of religion. Nearly three thousand people died in New York City on Nine Eleven because of religion. I don’t know. It seems like a really risky business to me. I can’t risk it.”
My friend looked defeated. I felt I had won the argument. But I couldn’t stop there. I was on a roll.
“Even in your Christian religion,” I said, looking my friend squarely in the eye, “you have little agreement among the thousands of denominations as to what your Jesus actually taught. Or who He was. Some say He was a good man; others say He was God’s Son. And your Bible. It teaches that people who commit adultery are to be stoned to death. That’s a little harsh, don’t you think? It teaches that gay people are also to be stoned to death. It teaches animal sacrifices. Man, that book is full of stuff that just doesn’t work in modern times. And you want me to risk it all for the sake of an out of date book and a mysterious guy who lived two thousand years ago that no one really knows what He said? No, thank you. There’s no way I can justify that risk.”
My friend was silent. I was certain now I had convinced him that his religion was just another false religion, like all the rest. I had won this debate hands down.
He looked at me and I could see the compassion in his eyes, and the concern in his heart. “But what if Jesus is who He claimed to be? What if what He said about Heaven and Hell really are true? What if your only hope for eternity is faith in Jesus Christ? What have you risked then?”
It was then I realized that I had not won the debate at all. I had to admit to myself that if Jesus really was God’s Son, then I had been involved in the riskiest of all business — rejecting the truth of what God had revealed.
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