The Shocking Truth

I was Shocked, confused, bewildered,
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven,
Who made me sputter and gasp–,
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade,
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor,
Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought,
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take,
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.

‘And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber – give me a clue,
‘Hush, child,’ He said,
‘they’re all in shock,
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’

I received this poem in an email this morning.  I have to say, first off, that I don’t agree with this attitude of nudging Jesus and asking Him, “What’s the deal?”  I suspect that any words I might try to utter when I meet the Lord would probably be unintelligible, either because I simply cannot come up with anything to say, or because my face is in the dust…or both.

That said, I think there is an important idea communicated here that perhaps we’ve forgotten.  Heaven is not  going to be occupied only by folks who look and act like you or me.  Sinners come in all shapes, sizes, social positions, maturity levels, denominational backgrounds and financial strata…the ground is level at the foot of the cross, as they say.

What needs to happen is that we all see our sin as God does.  We’d stop thinking of ourselves as being even minutely worthy of eternity with Him.  We’d mean it, instead of viewing someone like Charlie Sheen and glibly saying, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”  Truly, what would happen if God judged as we do….if He granted forgiveness conditionally as we often do?  We all need the wideness of God’s mercy.

Are you shocked that God would be willing to welcome Charlie Sheen, if he came to Him in saving faith?  Are you shocked that He has extended the same invitation to you?  I think this hits it on the head:

I stand amazed in the presence

Of Jesus the Nazarene,

And wonder how He could love me,

A sinner, condemned, unclean.

O how marvelous! O how wonderful!

And my song shall ever be:

O how marvelous! O how wonderful!

Is my Savior’s love for me!

~Charles H. Gabriel

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