“Hey I’m doing a little questionnaire, do you want to take it?” I asked three girls last week in our town square. (There are often summer events in the square which make a great place for witnessing.)
“Sure!” they answered enthusiastically.
“Okay, the first question is: what is evil?” I asked. (I was trying out a new questionnaire my dad and I came up with on our drive home from New Hampshire.)
“Devils,” they said.
“Anything else?” I asked.
“Have you ever done anything evil?” I asked.
“Well, it’s how you define evil,” I clarified, “Have you ever told a lie?”
“Yeah,” they answered.
“Have you ever disobeyed your parents?” I asked.
They just laughed. (Indicating a big “yes”)
“Okay, well then, I think we’ve got that covered,” I told them.
“So how does God deal with evil?” I asked.
“Uh, send everyone to hell? Forgives?” they guessed.
“What is God like?” I asked them, “What’s His character? How would you describe Him?”
“Loving, good, forgiving, kind,” they answered.
“How do you know that?” I asked.
“Church” they said.
“How does your church know that?” I asked.
“The Bible,” they said.
“Okay, so you believe the Bible is where we learn about God?” I asked.
“Yeah,” they said,
“I do too. Okay, well the Bible also says God is just. Do you know what that means?”
“Justice. You guys know what that means!” I said.
“I have a really bad vocabulary,” one girl said.
“You know, in a court if punishment is given that is carrying out justice…” I explained.
“Do you think God will carry out justice in this world?” I asked, mentioning some evil people like Hitler, etc. They agreed Hitler and people like him deserved punishment.
“The problem is,” I continued, “that each one of us has done wrong and deserves God’s punishment. Like we already talked about—lying, disobeying our parents, stealing, those are all breaking God’s law,” I explained.
I asked if they knew how it was possible to still have peace with God. They didn’t. So I briefly shared my testimony, “When I was 6, I began thinking about Heaven and Hell and I was afraid that I would go to Hell. So I talked to my mom about it and she explained the answer. Do you guys know what that is?” I asked.
“No,” they answered.
“Do you think that it’s possible for someone to know for sure they are going to Heaven?” I asked.
They didn’t know.
“This is important to talk about, guys…there is just too much at stake…” I said, mentioning how none of us know how long we’ll live.
Now they seemed more curious about what I had to say next. So I got out my little notepad and began to draw the little bridge diagram.
“Here is man, here is God” I explained, drawing the two cliffs.
“God is perfect. So how do we get from here to here?”
“Well no one’s perfect,” one girl said.
“Right,” I agreed. “So how does anyone get to Heaven?” I asked.
“Uh…forgiveness? Have faith?” they asked.
“Well, kind of, but that’s not all. So do you want to know the answer?” I asked.
Now they were listening pretty carefully.
“We can be saved because of something God did. God saw that we deserved punishment and the punishment would be too much for us to bear and still be with Him. (It would be separation from Him in hell.) But because He loved us—as you mentioned before—and wanted us to be with Him, He decided to take our punishment for us. What He did is this: He put Himself into a human body (that was Jesus) and then He let people kill Him. But what He was really doing was taking the punishment we deserved for our sins. Really, we deserved to be punished. You could look at it like this: we deserved to be the one dying on a cross for our sins, but He died FOR us. He was perfect and didn’t have any of His own sin to die for. And then He rose from the dead and He’s alive now. And He’s offering this free gift of eternal life for anyone who asks Him. He proved His love for us by dying that horrible death. We just have to believe and trust Him! There is a verse in the Bible that says ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
One of the girls especially seemed to be listening with interest.
“So does this sound like something you want to do?” I asked.
They seemed to indicate it was. I explained that this was something that they needed to take care of between them and God. I sensed they needed a little more time to process these thoughts, so I gave them tracts and them to get alone with God and pray about this (as soon as possible) and also to read their Bibles. I also got their e-mail addresses.
“We can be e-mail buddies!” one of the girls (the more interested one) told me.
We also talked about other things such as their school, their frappachino maker, and other random things. It was just nice to establish more of a friendship with them–one I hope will continue.
“Thank you for talking with us!” she said warmly as we parted.
Sometimes we believe Satan’s lie that people don’t want to hear the gospel, that they won’t want to talk to us.
I realize that these girls can only retain so much information from one short conversation in the park, but it was a start. And I know that God can use what was said and bring others to build on that foundation.