I have to share an experience I had with my 8yo daughter, Mackenzie, a few weeks ago. It happened on the day of her birthday party, actually, and I can't seem to get it out of my mind.
We are blessed in the fact that most of our family are believers. However, one relative and his family do not attend church. They might tell you they believe in God, but that's about it. His language is a bit coarse, and he particularly has a habit of taking God's name in vain. I think he does try to clean it up around our family, which I appreciate, but at the party he must have let one slip because Mackenzie came to me and asked me why he would say that.
I explained that ____ and his family don't go to church, and don't know the Lord, so we shouldn't be too surprised when they say or do something that seems ungodly. (I thought she already knew this)
I was stunned when she burst into tears. "You mean they're going to go to hell?" she sobbed.
I wasn't sure what to say. Her party was taking place in the other room. I wasn't prepared for this topic. So I told her I honestly didn't know, that I knew _____ had been raised in the church, and God knows his heart. I told her we can invite them to church, tell them about Jesus and pray for them, but ultimately the choice is theirs. She calmed down and the rest of the party went uneventfully.
But I keep pondering. _______ and his family married into our family five years ago. We do not have a lot in common, but we have come to care for them very much. So why hasn't my heart been broken before now for the condition of their souls? I have friends who do not know the Lord. Have I ever wept for them?
My eight year old daughter immediately recognized the desperate condition of a life without Jesus. Her response touched a chord in me. How can I be so complacent about the fact that people I know and love do not know and love my Lord? I have been so focused the last several years about leading my children to Christ that I have forgotten that my circle of influence does not stop at the door of my home.
Thank you for reminding me, Mackenzie.