Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Narrow Door

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”  Luke 13:22-30

A few weeks ago Soul Pastor posted this scripture to his blog and asked us to comment on it.  Actually his words were ‘Thoughts?’  In the gathering that week he challenged everyone there to post a comment as homework.  My thought was: I don’t want to think about it.

That said, for the past two weeks, I have been thinking about it a lot.  I am not thinking about me.  I am thinking about my Mom.  I case you don’t know the story, I will give you the abridged version.  My Mom passed away from breast cancer when I was twenty two years old.  I was barely an adult.  That event has shaped my life in a lot of ways.  My Mom wasn’t a Christian.  In fact my Mom explicitly stated that she couldn’t believe in a God who allowed all the bad stuff she saw to happen.

I can’t really blame her.  My Mom’s life was rough.  Some of those details only came out after she passed away.  I never had the opportunity to show my Mom that Jesus really did care about the details of her life.  I know He did.  Yet my Mom died without knowing Him. 

I often wonder if I would have become a Christian if my Mom hadn’t passed away.  We were very close and very tied together emotionally.  I feel a type of survivor’s guilt.  I found everlasting life and in some ways her leaving this world enabled that for me.  Everything in me wants to reject the theology that says there is one way to heaven because it means that she won’t be there.

Here’s the problem:  I have to think about the Scripture.

When I dig into the background of the passage I realize that Jesus is speaking to believers or those that had the opportunity to go through the narrow door and didn’t.  You could say that most, at least in Western cultures, have had that opportunity.  So what is Jesus saying?  Is He saying it that the only way to get through the door is through Him?  Is it a warning for those who say a prayer and think that guarantees salvation?  I don’t know.  And maybe God is protecting me by not allowing me to have certainty.

One thing I do know from this passage is that it is a warning.  Regardless of what happened with my Mom I need to think about what it means for me to enter.  I do know that as Soul Pastor said, it is one person at a time.  So I need to focus on my relationship with Him.


mom_of_4 said...

It is sobering, isn't it. Once I read it again in the context of remembering your mom, what struck me was that the ones who were kicked out were the ones who had claimed to know Him but never really did. You write that your mom had never claimed to know Him and didn't want to because of the pain in her life. Do you think it may be bold to suggest that this Scripture doesn't really apply to someone in that situation? Somewhere God's character must speak to the injustice of someone missing out on Heaven because they didn't know His love?

XOXO Dr. Kay Elizabeth said...

Interesting I read this post.