I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1-6
There was a time when I was really messed up.
I’ve been a Christian forever it seems–I grew up going to Sunday school–but religion didn’t insulate me from the world’s problems. When I went down, I went down hard. (I’ll spare you the details, but it involved a lot of alcohol.) I haven’t forgotten it, and I haven’t forgotten what it felt like: lost, lonely, rudderless. I stopped going to church after sitting, week after week, next to people who appeared to be happy. Why? Because I thought I wasn’t “good enough.” Instead I turned to twelve step groups, support groups, and counseling. I found God in rag-tag groups of broken people who clung together for sanity. Now I know that I was always good enough for God, even if I wasn’t good enough for some Christians.
I think many Christians have divided the world into two camps: Christians, and those who will never be Christians. And they’ve constricted the definition of Christian to “those who believe exactly the same things I do.”
Some people love the passage about the narrow gate (“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Matthew 7:13) even as they ignore the first line of the same chapter (Do not judge… Matthew 7:1) and the verses leading up to it.
It’s up to each person if they want to walk through the narrow gate. But let’s not push people off the road. Let’s invite them on, even if they seem beyond hope to our myopic vision. God knows their hearts and, for all we know, He might have great plans for them.
Every Christian has a before: a time when they weren’t Christians, or they weren’t walking with God, or they just didn’t understand. Every person has hope.
Will God save everyone? I don’t know. But I won’t stop Him if He tries.