A few times in my life I have come upon a dog that has been hit by a car, injured, and pitifully trying to move in the highway. You have seen that scene. People have stopped to see how to help the hurting animal but none have been successful in moving it from its location in the thoroughfare. Sadly, the dog is hurting so badly from the accident that it does not want anyone to touch it. Attempts to move it to safety are met with growls and quick snaps of the jaws seeking to let the “would be Good Samaritan” know to leave it alone.
People can be just like that injured dog. They can be in so much pain from the wounds of life that they hurt in every area of their lives. Any attempt to try to help them can be met with snarls, cursing, and verbal abuse. Why? So many people have been hurt at every level of life’s relationships that they find it extremely difficult to trust anyone. Too many have been hurt by parents when they were children; by spouses when they were married; by bosses or supervisors in business; by church leaders where they sought help; by friends who betrayed them in a time of need; and on and on. Anyone that is trying to help another person needs to be prepared to receive hostility initially from those who are hurting….not for anything that the present “helper” did or did not do. Rather, the hurt is the result of years of abuse or abusing that makes genuine love and concern hard to believe and accept.
I was once conducting a Q&A session with high school teenagers. I told them that they could ask me any question on any subject, and I would try and answer it. Their questions were typical of ones I had received in similar sessions scores of times before. As the session drew to a close, one girl toward the back, who had not said anything, raised her hand. I nodded, and she said, "The Bible says God loves everybody. Then it says that God sends people to hell. How can a loving God do that?" I gave her my answer, and she came back to me with arguments. I answered her arguments, and she answered my answers.
The conversation quickly degenerated into an argument. I did not convince her, nor did she convince me. After a few more questions I dismissed the session. After the session I approached her and said, "I owe you an apology. I really should not have allowed our discussion to become so argumentative." Then I asked, "May I share something with you?" She said, "Yes." So I took her through a basic presentation of the gospel. When I got to Romans 3:23 and suggested that all of us were sinners she began to cry. It was then that this high school senior admitted she had been having an affair with a married man.
The one thing she needed was forgiveness. When I finished the presentation of the gospel, she trusted Christ. The reason she did not believe in hell was because she was going there. In her heart she knew she had sinned. Her conscience condemned her, but rather than face the fact of her guilt, she simply denied any future judgment or future hell. M. Cocoris, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, Moody, 1984, p. 163.
All of us who would “rescue” those without hope in Jesus Christ need to be often reminded of our Master’s admonition, “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man....bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:22, 28, 36).