by Sheri Schofield
The photographer I hired to do our daughter’s wedding was a long-time acquaintance. I felt it was time to mention Jesus, so I shared an event with him and told how God had helped us. Before I could go any further, the man said, “Sheri, I don’t believe there is a God. But if there is, he will be happy to get me when I die, because I’m such a good person!”
I looked at him thoughtfully. He was only saying what most unbelievers think. Many say that they have lived good lives. Oh, they’ve blown it a few times, but overall, they’re pretty good people.
“Friend,” I said with a little smile, “you’re like someone who has built a beautiful house. It is gorgeous in every way. When you are finished, you look around in satisfaction. You even have a high wall around the property for privacy. You love that house! But what you don’t realize is that the land on which you have built is a toxic waste dump.”
The man looked at me in shock. I doubt anyone had ever spoken like that to him before. That isn’t done in his world!
“You can stay in your house if you wish, but you will perish if you do. The only way out is a ladder standing against the wall. That ladder is Jesus. But you will have to leave everything behind in order to escape, for everything in your house is contaminated.”
“Each one of us is born in a toxic waste dump called sin. We are contaminated from birth. We build our lives, build our homes and careers, and many never discover that they are dying in sin until they are dead. It’s too late to get out of the dump then.
“God is completely holy. Heaven is uncontaminated. God does not allow anyone or anything into his heaven that is poisoned by sin. The only way we can enter heaven is to ask God to forgive our sins and accept Jesus as the One who saves us from sin. We leave all our self-righteous, contaminated self behind when we come to Jesus. The Holy Spirit washes us clean from sin and sets his seal on our hearts, kind of like a brand. That brand stays with us for eternity and declares to God that we belong to his Son, Jesus.”
All the good works that we did before Christ count as nothing in God’s eyes. Isaiah 64:6 (NLT) tells us, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.” We cannot earn heaven by good deeds. However, good deeds flow out of us after we give our lives to Christ. We do them not to gain God’s favor, but to show our love for him. Those good deeds are the ones that count.
My friend has not yet come to know Jesus as his Savior. But I know that every time we meet, he is reminded that he is building on a toxic waste dump. Surprisingly, he is intrigued by what I said to him, and he remains my friend. Every time we meet, I pray that he will climb that ladder out of the trap in which he lives.
The ladder is there for everyone who is caught in the toxic waste dump of sin.
“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:4,5 (NLT)
About the author: Sheri Schofield, an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years, has just released her new book, The Prince And The Plan, to help parents lead their children into a saving knowledge of Jesus. Sheri was named Writer of the Year for 2018 at Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!
Join the conversation: When did you realize that you needed Jesus? What drove you to trust in Him?