Irina didn't have much. She couldn't even afford enough food to
feed her son. So her son spent his days at a government run orphanage.
Few people in Russia are Christians so I I knew, when she told me
her husband had just died, that she'd be hearing that he just went
to hell. I was not looking forward to this conversation.
In sharing the gospel we try to ask questions and let people come
to a conclusion on their own. We're not Bible thumpers trying to
pound the gospel into people's heads. We follow the model Jesus
gave us: be loving, kind, gentle and humble, and ask questions that
allow people to see the truth for themselves.
answer was the same as the answer we get from almost everyone. She
said that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. So
I asked her if she considered herself to be a good person. She said
I asked her, "May I ask you a few questions to see if you
really are a good person?" She said that would be fine.
"How many lies have you told?" I asked. She replied that
it was more than she could remember or count.
"Have you ever taken something that did not belong to you?"
Her answer was, "Yes."
Matthew 5:21 & 22
"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You
shall not commit murder and 'Whoever commits murder
shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that
everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty
before the court..."
"And whoever says 'You fool,' shall be guilty
enough to go into the fiery hell."
Most people think they are good people because at least they haven't
murdered anyone. So my next question was, "Have you ever murdered
anyone?" She looked surprised and said, "no".
"Have you ever been really angry at someone?" I asked.
In Matthew 5 Jesus said that if you are unjustly angry at someone,
or call someone a fool, you have committed murder in your heart.
God looks at your thoughts and heart, not just your actions.
"Have you ever looked at another person with lust?"
"Yes." She answered.
"Jesus said that if you look with lust you have committed
adultery in your heart."
"These are just four of the Ten Commandments." I explained.
"You have admitted you are a liar, a thief, a murderer and
an adulterer at heart. When you die will you go to heaven or hell?"
"Hell," she answered with a look of concern on her face.
"Do you know what God has done so that you don't need to spend
eternity in hell?"
"No," she answered.
John 3:18 & 19
"He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not judged;
he who does not believe has been judged already...
"This is the judgment, that the Light [Jesus]
has come into the world, and men loved the darkness
rather than the Light, for their [your] deeds were evil."
You have broken God's laws and have earned the penalty for breaking
His laws. For example, the Bible says that all liars have their
place in the lake of fire. But 2000 years ago Jesus died on the
cross to pay the penalty you've earned. He died in your place so
that you don't have to die. If you accept this gift from God you'll
be in heaven with God after you die. If you choose to pay your penalty
yourself, you will do just that... you'll be under God's wrath for
eternity. It's what we call hell.
As often happens Irina said that this makes sense. It was the first
time anyone had explained Christianity in a way that made sense
to her. But she wasn't ready to say "yes" to Jesus.
What had happened to her husband never came up in our conversation.
I was obedient to God and shared the gospel. Another seed had been
planted. She said she had a Bible at home, so I gave her some small
books that talked about sin and salvation through trusting in Jesus
Christ. She then reached into the shopping bag she was carrying
and gave me a package of cookies as a gift to express her gratitude.
A very different outcome than I was expecting.