If you follow the news from around the nation, you may have read two news items that captured my attention. The first item was the story about a homeless millionaire. (Go here to learn about Richard Leroy Walters: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111091624.) The other story was about a man who kidnapped an eleven year old girl. (Go here to learn about Phillip Garrido: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112301498.)
At first glance, they do not seem to have much in common. But from my perspective, they are exactly alike; they were both hypocrites. According to the reports, Mr. Walters was a stand-offish man who slept outside, ate in a hospital, and used a library as his office. Mr. Garrido was a family man who was taking care of his elderly mother and willingly helped his neighbors when they needed it. Neither of these men showed who they really were to the people in their communities. Mr. Walters was making trades on the stock exchange and amassed $4,000,000. Mr. Garrido kept Jaycee Dugard hostage for 18 years and fathered her two children.
The examples of these two men are shocking in the extremes of their hypocrisy, but they are not alone. We have to look no further than our own reflection in the mirror to find the nearest hypocrite. The Bible says that none of us are without sin. That sin disconnects our inward selves and our outward lives. Unlike Mr. Walters though, most of us want our neighbors to have a higher opinion of us than we deserve.
Since Mr. Walters is dead – which is relevant to my blog, I would like to pretend that Mr. Walters was on the grand Queen Elizabeth on our trip from New York to London. Even though he had enough money to purchase a first-class ticket, he chose to make the trip in third-class. He depended on the kindness of the crew and the staff for company, since he made the trip alone. He had no invitation to dine with the captain; Mr. Walters was one of the passengers who believed that neither the Owner nor the Captain existed.
Finally, the journey ended, as all journeys do. When the Queen Elizabeth docked at port, all the passengers - first-class, second-class or third - were directed to one of two lines. Those with British passports were directed to the line on the right; non-citizens all went to the line on the left. The citizens were quickly processed through and allowed to return home. The non-citizens were processed more slowly. Those passengers with the proper papers were allowed into the country; the rest were refused entry and held.
If Mr. Walters had made the trip on the Queen Elizabeth, he most probably would have been allowed entry into England. After all, he would have appeared to be one of the harmless masses of third-class passengers. His hypocrisy would have made no difference to the authorities. Unfortunately, his own land-fall into eternity was not like that at all.
Using the analogy of the passenger ship, Mr. Walters disembarked at the terminal. All the passengers were in the same line, here. As Mr. Walters neared the front of the line he saw an official take the person's passport and he heard this question: "Did you accept the Captain's invitation?" Those who answered "Yes!" had their passports stamped "FORGIVEN" and they were allowed to proceed.
When Mr. Walters was standing before the official, he answered, "I never received an invitation from the captain." The official looked at Mr. Walters, "Would you have accepted it if you had?" At this place, no one is a hypocrite. Mr. Walters looked into his own heart. He saw that no matter how many invitations he might have received, he would have refused. "No." The official stamped his passport: "REJECTED."
Even though the scene itself is not real, it contains truth. When we stand before God at the end of our journey the only deciding factor for our eternal destination will be whether we are FORGIVEN or REJECTED.
God said in the Bible that He loved the world enough to give His Son to die for everyone's sins. He knew that only some people would accept Jesus' death in place of their own well-deserved punishment. The ones who accepted would be forgiven. Jesus died for all of us, however - even those whose hearts are unreachable for one reason or another. Some people reject Jesus when given an invitation. Some reject Him without an invitation. Our Sovereign God, who searches our hearts, knows the answer to that most important question.
Have you accepted His invitation? If not and if you want to know more, go here: http://www.allaboutgod.com/plan-of-salvation.htm.