Sunday, February 10, 2008

Now or Never

Aint no use in complainin'
When you got a job to do
Spent my evenings down at the drive-in
And that's when I met you
Standin' on your mama's porch
You told me that you'd wait forever
Oh and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

I was listening to an old Bryan Adams song on the radio the other day. The one above. I've heard this song somewhere around 277,518 times before, but this time the lyrics hit me a little differently. This time I remembered that moment of "now or never."

I should clarify that I've had more than one "now or never" moment. I remember that moment with my wife -- before she was my wife, of course. We weren't standing on her mama's porch. We were actually standing outside her cousin's house where she was staying. It wasn't really the end of a "real" date. We had just hung out together and watched TV at her mama's house. Then I took her to her cousin's place. We stood awkwardly outside my Ponitac Grand Am. I knew it was now or never. But I hesitated and did a lot of stammering.

Meanwhile, my future wife realized it was now or never and I was blowing it. So she leaned over, kissed me, said good night and went in the house. I avoided the "never" only because my darling was good enough to bail me out.

I guess I must have been a real loser with the ladies because I remember a few other "now or never" moments where I choked also. There were a couple of girls were I didn't avoid the "never" aspect. Of course I remember another where I was ready for the "now" but that seemed to be about as long as the relationship lasted.

As long as I've been a Christian, I've been taught that a person can reject Christ all his life, but accept Him on his deathbed. For many that doesn't seem quite fair. That "now or never" moment can be a "now or later" marathon up until that last breath. But to be truthful, I'm not sure why that is considered unfair.

I don't know about you, but God has forgiven me for the same sin around 277,518 times. It wasn't a "now or never" deal, and it's a mighty good thing it wasn't.

Jesus said we are to forgive our brother 70 times 7 times (translation: more than 277,518), even if it's the same sin. Personally, that's what seems unfair to me. Why should I put up with my brother cheating me more than a quarter of a million times? I might further wonder why I would give him the opportunity to cheat me that many times. But forgive? Repeatedly? Shouldn't I give him a "now or never" to change his ways?

In the church we also have this attitude of "now or never" with some of our brothers, especially new believers. How dare they still listen to that evil rock and roll music instead of a steady diet of Gaither cassettes! How dare they continue to smoke those evil cigarettes after Christ has washed them whiter than snow! Shouldn't these people immediately conform to the ways of Christ, or more accurately to the ways of the church?

The only "now or never" moment for us with God seems to be at the time of that final breath. Unfair? Thankfully no.

Perhaps the church will be able to follow this teaching of Christ someday.

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