Reason #78: I’m a liar.
“Do you know Jesus?”
The question bounced off the tile walls like a Ping-Pong ball in a hot clothes dryer.
Under normal circumstances, I might answer this question in a different way. But, this wasn’t a normal circumstance.
So, I did what had to be done. I lied.
“Yes. God has blessed me.”
I realize the egregious level of my infraction.
On the scale of “Bible Thumper” to “Fire Surfer,” I generally rate on the warmer side. That is, the religion stuff just doesn’t work for me. But, I was raised in a Christian household, so there remains a basic discomfort in saying my beliefs out loud. This, however, was not that. This was survival.
You see. The man with the question was naked. And, so was I.
I had taken a chance. The community center shower was empty 10 seconds ago. Quick calculations showed that I could shower, dress and clear the room in approximately 44 seconds.
I had just ridden my bike 59 miles and I was sweaty. My car was new. The risk was worth it.
Until it wasn’t.
He was six feet tall and easily 240 pounds. I am neither. But, it wasn’t fear of assault that made me lie. This guy was a gentle giant, a fact that was obvious before I turned around.
No, this was fear of having “that conversation” while naked.
If you’re like me, you’ve been approached about salvation many times. I’ve successfully fended off well-dressed youngsters on bikes on at least five occasions.
I’ve hid in my darkened house, lying on the floor, sneaking glances, desperately trying not to get noticed moving the blinds. I’ve tried the direct approach, “I have no interest in having this discussion.” The brushoff, “I have a pizza in the oven.” Most times, I’m overwhelmed by my fear of confrontation. “Yeah, thanks for stopping by. It’s just, you know, I don’t really-- Sure, I’ll take some literature.”
You may be shocked to learn, but I’ve even answered the question honestly. (I’m not a total coward.)
In fact, one of my favorite life moments came from the direct engagement of a salvation soldier. It’s a story for another day, but the short version has an extremely kind Baptist preacher standing on my doorstop in a completely flummoxed state asking me, “Aren’t you afraid?”
Truth be told, if I felt like any of these well-intentioned soul-savers were actually interested in a conversation, I’d likely participate more often. Most times, though, I find the point is not to engage in an exchange of ideas, but rather just to tell me how utterly wrong I am.
But, the moment in the shower was none of these. Or, all of these. I was too thrown to know for certain.
I had never had “that conversation” while dressed like Adam and Eve.
I wanted out, and I was willing to do anything to get there. So, I lied. I lied a big lie. And, I sold the lie. That day, in that moment, I was Pat Robertson rolled into Billy Graham. I was the single most saved guy on the planet. I loved Jesus like no one has ever loved Him before.
Then, I got dressed. And went directly to hell.
Have a salvation-avoidance story of your own? Like to share how you would have handled the situation? Add it to the comments below. At worst, I'll know I won't be alone when the end times come.