A lady had wanted to invite her neighbor to come to worship with her for quite a while. One afternoon while they were talking, she finally worked up the courage and asked her. “I haven’t been in such a long time,” the neighbor replied. “Besides, it’s too late for me. I’ve probably already broken all seven commandments.”
While this illustration has an element of humor, though sad at the same time, it’s amazing how true this conversation can be. The neighbor expressed two very common reasons why some people resist a relationship with the Lord.
First, some people resist a relationship with the Lord because they don’t know much about Him. Perhaps most people know that the Old Testament lists 10 commandments (Exodus 20), but overall, many people today are uninformed about Scripture and what it says about having a relationship with the Lord. This is a serious problem since we will be judged by Jesus’ words (John 12:48) and how well we have obeyed “the will of the Father” (Matthew 7:21-27).
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to have a relationship with God, but just like all relationships, they have to start somewhere. It should help to realize that God loves us dearly (John 3:16) and He patiently longs for us to change and seek that relationship with Him (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). This doesn’t mean we become best friends overnight. It’s going to take time and effort, but we can rest assured that God will draw near to us if we are willing to draw near to Him (James 4:8).
Second, some people resist a relationship with the Lord because they feel they are too sinful. There is no doubt that we’ve all sinned (Romans 3:23), but God is willing to forgive (1 John 1:9). This is the entire reason that He gave Jesus to die on the cross for us (Titus 2:11-14). He genuinely loves us and wants us to come to Him (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4).
In Acts 2, Peter was preaching a sermon to the very people who were involved in killing Christ. After Peter convinces them of this they became “pierced to the heart” and asked, “what shall we do?” (vs. 36-37). Even though they had played a part in the murdering of Jesus Christ, Peter tells them they can have their sins forgiven if they are willing to repent and be baptized (vs. 38, 41). We may have committed some terrible sins, but none of us were responsible for a sin as terrible as the murder of Christ. And even if we were, we could still receive forgiveness!
Whether we are wrestling through these questions or helping someone else who is, we can rest assured that God loves us, He wants a relationship with us, and He is willing to forgive us. He’s already come much more than half way to meet us. Are we willing to come the rest of the way?