Sep 4, 2018 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
Good news? Sometimes it doesn’t sound like good news.
On a recent trip to Prague I stopped in to see a dear friend of mine. He trusted Christ in our Czech church as a teenager, and soon developed a deep passion for Jesus and love for his Word. Now however, he is far from God, living a gay lifestyle with a steady boyfriend. I told him that I love him, that God loves him more, and wants him to live in purity—in spite of his orientation. The downcast look on his face made it clear. He did not consider this good news.
Earlier that same week I had breakfast with a man in our town who I led to faith in Christ a few years ago. He has grown in his faith and love for Jesus, and fallen in love with a sweet lady whose husband left her. Since both are fearful of making a mistake and getting into a marriage that won’t work, they are “trying it out” by living together some of the time. I told him this was not God’s plan, and challenged him with the Bible’s perspective on marriage and the boundaries of sexual relationships. It didn’t sound like good news to him.
Our JV team shared the gospel message with over 6,000 young people this summer. But for many, the idea we are sinners who can’t fix the situation on our own sounds depressing and narrow. Even more, the conviction that Jesus is the only way, and that without him we are doomed to an eternity of punishment, comes across as downright judgmental and cruel. If the word “gospel” means good news, why does it sound like bad news?
Several years ago, a doctor friend of mine came to visit us. When I told him about irregular heartbeats I had been experiencing he pulled out his stethoscope for a quick listen. His jovial expression suddenly turned grim. “Dave, I’m afraid you have something wrong with one of your heart valves,” he said. “I’m almost sure you will need open heart surgery.”
“What will happen if I don’t do that?” I asked, trying to lighten the atmosphere. “My guess is that you will be dead in two years,” he somberly replied.
It didn’t sound like good news—but it actually was. One of the best surgeons in the country was able to operate on my heart and repair the valve. I am alive today because my friend was not afraid to tell me the truth.
This month the entire JV team will gather at our fall training conference to grow in truth telling; reflecting God’s perspective on gender, morality, and religion. The theme? “Good News.”
Pray that we will be always be faithful at clearly communicating God’s perspective—no matter how radical it sounds.
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