When I was a Christian, I was always prepared for the imminent return of Christ. Working out my salvation with “fear and trembling” was a reality for me, as I never did have any true peace regarding any future acceptance in Heaven. Still, I forged on always hoping to be found among the sheep on that fateful day when Christ would return with the martyred saints and separate his flock to the right of Him.
Christians will ask me what I am going to do or say to their Christ if one day he does return, and I am found wanting of a response as to why he should allow me access into his eternal day spa in the sky. I have no prepared response, of course, but I think that I would look Christ bravely in the eyes, and tell Him that I have no regrets. I think that I’d tell him that I lived and died with integrity intact. I think I’d bring forth my children, family, friends, and yes, even my enemies as an example of how I lived and let them speak for me. I’m confident that they’d do me proud and defend my character.
I have nothing for which I am ashamed of any longer. I am the best and the worst that humanity has to offer. I am fully human; I fall down, and I get up. I have been wounded beyond repair by my fellow man, and I have left scars on the hearts of others that can never fade. I am mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend. I approach all of my relationships and endeavors with honesty and fairness. I am not always successful. Sometimes I am downright despicable, but I suck up my pride, make amends, and try harder the next time, to be a little better than I was the day before. There is an old saying, I don’t know who it is attributed to, but it goes something like this: “I aint what I oughta be and I aint what I’m gonna be, but at least I aint what I was.” So profoundly simple is my motto.
Considering what I’ve learned of the Christ, he will hardly be impressed by my character witnesses, or my chin held high with pride. He will simply see it as wickedness and trusting in my own ability to save myself. Knowing what I do of the scriptures, He will hardly care that I served him for sixteen years, until my rational mind could no longer deny what I had found to be true after years of sincere prayer and study. Knowing Him, he will only want to hear that I believed he was the Son of God who had died as an atonement for my sins. I suppose that by that point, I will not be able to deny it, but that won’t matter to him, because it will be too late. Knowing Him as I came to, the only worthy sacrifice will be a sacrifice of praise, but I don’t think that I will be able to muster one up. I just don’t see how it will possible for me to praise him as I see him prepare to sentence so many to Hell forever. I just don’t see how I will be able to conjure up one nice thing to say about his “judgment” after all. I just don’t see how any of us can.
I know that as I examine the two crowds of people destined to their eternal homes, I might have to make a choice. I will see my fellowman, the lonely, brave heroes that chose to die rather than live in fear of God, church, or man - men and women who took the road less traveled by denying superstitious fear, and chose to live with dignity or suffer the consequences. I will see all those martyred souls who lied huddled on dungeon floors, tortured for days, until they were led away to the steak and faggot. I will observe the bowed heads of the courageous scientists who sought out the answers religion tried denying them access to, only to find them selves lying upon a rack half dead with joints out of place for their efforts. I will scan the faces of forgotten American Indians raped of their land, their wives, their children and their innocence. I will witness the tear-streaked faces of once accused witches - women and children once bound and drowned all in the name of purification. I will weep at the presence of all those thrown to the hungry lions as the Emperor looked on with pious indignation. I will hear the moans still emanating from the Jewish soil that Jesus stands upon and listen to the cries of 6 million Jews gone unheard by the Pope, the Christian church or their God.
I will not fail to examine the crowd of followers standing faithfully to Christ’s right-hand side. I will observe the devoutly serene and glowing faces of those who fought the fight and ran the race. I will look into the fiery eyes of the Christian soldiers who drove dagger and sword into the chests of their enemies, the clergymen who lived free while their victims lived on only to be haunted by the sins of the fathers. I will find among the faithful, those who valiantly went forth in the name of Yahweh slaying all that stood among the heathen nations, men, women, elderly, and babe. So too shall I come upon the patriarchs of the faith, men like Noah, the drunk, David the adulterous and vengeful king, Solomon the womanizer, Jephthath the child sacrificer, Moses the murderer, Jacob the liar, Paul the bigot…
After giving careful consideration to the billions of wicked souls who will soon be meeting a fiery fate, and the ethereal faces of those awaiting celestial reward, I think that I know what I will do…I will step to the left and take my place proudly among the heathen.