How Are You Any Different?

A few weeks ago, there was another terrible school shooting. This one in Florida, where the lives of 17 teachers and students were snuffed out in an instant by a madman with a gun. It is hard to wrap our brains around such a thing.

But, perhaps just as hard to understand, is the story that broke a few days later. There was an armed security guard there who chose to remain outside and do nothing during all that carnage.

This guy has taken a lot of heat for this. He has been called a coward–and I am sure much worse–because of his cowardly decision. And, as a parent, I have to just say that I would struggle to forgive a man that could have possibly stopped the killer and perhaps saved my child’s life before it was too late. Such needless loss. This guy was specially trained but when the time to test what he had learned came, he failed. And he failed miserably.

A pastor shared this breaking news story with his congregation this past weekend and then turned to them and asked this question:

How are you any different?

How are we any different?? If we know people all around us are headed to hell and dying in their sins for all eternity and then we sit idly by, unwilling to put our reputations, our friendships, our jobs, or our families on the line in order to save them from eternal damnation by sharing the Gospel, then how are we any different?

In fact, we may even be worse, given the fact that–at least at this point–we are not putting our lives on the line to share the Gospel. We are so wimpy that we aren’t even willing to sacrifice our temporal pleasures.

I am speaking to myself here as much as to any of you. When someone told me this challenge their pastor gave the other day, I was stopped in my tracks. What is wrong with me??

We lose perspective so quickly, don’t we? We lose sight of the fact that–if we have been redeemed by God through Jesus Christ alone– we are not on this earth to amass wealth, to live the good life or the American dream, to see ourselves or our kids succeed, to be popular, to be nice, to be active in our communities, or even to meet the needs of the poor. These aren’t necessarily bad things, but they aren’t why we are here.

No, these things are temporal, earthly things that won’t make an eternal difference at all. One of our main purposes for life upon our entrance into God’s Kingdom is to share the Gospel and to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15).

So why is this so hard?

Why is it so hard to share the Good News that has taken us from darkness into God’s marvelous light?

It’s hard because the unadulterated Gospel, as presented in scripture, is not popular. The concepts of hell, of judgment, of absolute truth, of an exclusive way to heaven have become anathema in a culture that is obsessed with self-gratification and false unity. And so it really is feasible that we are putting our reputations, our friendships, and a variety of other things on the line when we share the Gospel.

And that’s why we don’t do it.

So the next time you are tempted to have a critical thought about that security guard, remember your own reluctance at self-sacrifice. Remember your own hesitation at sacrificing personal convenience and comfort at the expense of someone’s eternal destiny. And then give that guy some grace.

And may this question: How are we any different? cause us to rise up and become more passionate about sharing the Good News of God’s plan of salvation with others–even if it means we have to sacrifice a little something in order to do so.

 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,a]”>[a] and follow Me.24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. Luke 9:23-26

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