“Until it costs you to love someone, you haven’t really loved them.”
– Sergio DeLaMora
What is a true friend? My definition is: A person who tells you what you NEED to hear, not just what you WANT to hear. A true friend is also a person who looks out for YOUR best interest, not just the things that will profit themselves.
I have been going back and forth with myself about writing you this letter, because quite frankly, it is not “politically correct”. I risk you thinking I am a “nut case”, avoiding me because it makes you uncomfortable, or treating and looking at me different. I know the ramifications of really putting myself out there like this. By me writing this letter, I have the most to loose. But, because I consider you a friend, I feel that YOU are worth the risk. As a person who has known you for many years, I know I cannot be the only one who has been touched by your kind, sincere, sarcastic and funny personality.
For all that I don’t know; one thing I am sure of is this– life is too short for regrets. I have so many from my past that I have determined to avoid regrets if I can (by prevention). Life is not worth living if I am not living authentically.
I know we have touched on the subjects of life, death and the after-life before, but I would not be a real friend if I did not tell you what I know.
Despite the humor you have about the existence of God in this world, I want you know that I KNOW for sure that there is one. God is real.
I never told you this, but I almost lost my life about three years ago, and I would not be writing this letter if He did not allow me to live through my personal hell. When I hear you laugh at the existence of God, it brings me back to a time when I could relate. I saw and experienced to many “ugly” things to even believe that there could be a God. Therefore, I lived as if there was no God.
Most people that claimed to believe in a God were the biggest hypocrites I knew. Any of their ideas seemed like a big joke to me. I felt that I was a “decent” person. And, that was good enough.
Although I was far from perfect, I felt that at least my life was honest. I never claimed to be a “spiritual giant”. I never pretended to be anything better than what I actually was. I was satisfied doing what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, however I wanted it done.
Because of my lifestyle and choices, I did not go to church. I never wanted to be a hypocrite (like all the other people I worked so hard NOT to be like). Besides—at least I had enough conscience to not insult “God” (If there really was one). How could I ask forgiveness for my sins if “God” knew I was planning to go right back to my ways again?
I never really understood the significance of Jesus until someone took the time to explain Him to me clearly. I feel it is only fair for me to “Pay it forward”.
God never EXPECTED me (or any human being) to be sinless or perfect. He knew that no one would ever be “good enough” to get to heaven by his/her own “goodness”. This idea intrigued me. It sounded too good to be true. But, I was willing to give it a fair listen. Here is how it was explained to me:
God knew that man could never meet the requirements of his law (the Torah, Ten Commandments). He actually put the law out there to show what was acceptable in His eyes; this showed the world how EVERYONE would always be short of His perfect standard. (How can you know that you are breaking a law, unless there is a law to break?)
The whole reason for the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament was to foreshadow Christ (the PERFECT lamb) as the sinless and perfect sacrifice for all of humanity’s sin.
* That is what makes the Jewish nation so special, through the Jewish customs and traditions, Christ the Messiah was predicted and explained.*
In Malachi 1:11 it says:
“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.”
To this day, most Jewish people reject the idea of Jesus being the Messiah. But ask yourself: WHY? Isaiah 53 is often ignored in Jewish Temples. I personally believe it is because after one reads it, the only conclusion to who the Messiah would be an answer most Rabbis would be excommunicated for admitting. I challenge you to search the scriptures for yourself.
Why would anyone NOT want to have someone else suffer for your sins and die and go to hell in your place? The only answer I can come up with is: PRIDE. We want to be “smart enough” or “able enough” to figure it out on our own, and “fix ourselves” on our own. I think deep down, (if we all get real), we know we are never could never be up for that task.
“Pride goeth before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov. 16:18
Why does “earning” your way to heaven feel like (to most people) the ONLY way to get there? And if that really was the way, how do you know if you have done enough? Why is the line so unclear? There are strict GPA requirements to go to the top medical schools. Would going to a perfect heaven require anything less? Why would the requirements for “good enough” not be clear? Is anyone out there really “good enough” to get to heaven on their own? I may not know much, but I know this much—I have done too much wrong to ever be “right” with God.
The great news about Christ is that His death made it so I did not have to be sinless. I just had to admit that I cannot “earn my way to heaven” on my own; that I need someone sinless and perfect to die in my place. Jesus was the only one in history that could fit that bill.
You have told me many times in the past that you have given up on yourself and see no hope for heaven. I believe that you want to go to heaven, but you just don’t know the way. I know the way. I cannot call myself a real friend that REALLY cares if I do not tell you what I know.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23 (No kidding!)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:23
“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Rom. 10:9
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Rom. 10:13
I prayed this prayer from the heart:
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I have done so much in my life, and you know it all. You can see the obvious sins and the ones that I have performed in my heart and in my mind. I cannot hide anything from you, and quite frankly, I am tired of trying. I am tired of running. I am tired of being sacred of you.
You said in your word that Jesus died in place of me. In His perfection, Christ took on my sins and suffered death FOR me. I only need to believe that He had the power to do this. I ask Him into my heart and trust that He is my redeemer. He rose again three days after to claim victory over sin, death and the god of this world, satan. I know that He is the perfect lamb, the only one good enough to do the job of paying for the world’s sins.
I am asking you to save me. I am asking Jesus to come into my heart and cleanse me from all my sins. I know I will never be perfect, and that is okay. For now, God is with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
After speaking this prayer from the heart, the fear of death and the afterlife no longer weighs on me. I feel free and I have never been the same. Think about it–what do you have to loose? You already have said to me COUNTLESS times that you feel you are not headed toward heaven. Deep inside, no matter how nice a person is, no one is “good enough” to enter heaven on his/her own merit.
I hope that you will see the heart behind this letter really cares. I have said all that I am going to say and I will never mention this letter again. I will leave the ball in your court. Of course, if you want to talk more about this, or you just need an ear to listen, I am always here for you. You can call me anytime. I hope I did not lose a friend.
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan
I pray that this article inspires you to reach out to the people you love that do not know Christ. Eternity in heaven won’t be the same without them.