Borrowed Truths

The Good Guy

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The Good Guy

Jerry is a great guy, he’s got a good job, a devoted wife and two children, both on the honor role at school. He enjoys his rounds of golf with his friends each week, weather permitting, a couple of vacations a year, and tries to attend as many of his kids functions at school as he can. Jerry drinks a little, not to much, except perhaps at some of the office parties and he has only had one ticket because of driving while  what he calls being ‘just a little tipsy,’ and that one was thrown out by one of his golfing buddies who just happens to be one of the local judges.

Jerry carries a pretty heavy debt load, but he can handle it, the overtime takes time away from the family occasionally and causes some stress at home and in his own personal life, but that’s the price you have to pay for a big house in one of the best neighborhoods in town, two leased vehicles and all those things that make for a good front in the community. He learned a long time ago that things are what make people happy, things and experiences that bring recognition from others, and he learned along the way that recognition is the key word, get the boss to notice you and if it takes stepping on a few toes while your moving up the ladder, then so be it.

At forty-six years old, Jerry looks sixty, weighs too much, and the only exercise he gets is when he steps out of the golf cart to hit the ball. He doesn’t know it, but next week Tuesday at 2:31 in the afternoon just as he is preparing to hit his shot off of the third tee, he is going to suffer a massive coronary, falling quite ungracefully onto the ground in front of his three friends. His lease on life will be up, there will now come a price to be paid for the massive debt load of sin that he has accumulated over those forty-six years.

A little less than a thousand years from now Jerry will be shown a short video, as it were, for there will be no need to show his whole life, just those three times, those three times that Jerry had an opportunity to give his life to Christ. The invisible things of God had become of no value to him many years ago. (Rom. 1:20)

The first was when Jerry was only 17 years old, when he attended that football camp up north, for both he and his father were sure that Jerry was going to be a big star someday, unaware that all of the drinking and partying in college would put a quick end to that plan for his life. During one of the morning practice sessions, one that he was particularly hung over at, for his secret drinking had started at an early age, he was approached by a kid about his age, a smaller guy, but he could run and catch the football okay, a kid who introduced himself as Jeff. It was difficult to decipher exactly what the kid was talking about, some Jesus and faith stuff, things that Jerry had never really paid any attention to, and anyway his head was still throbbing from last night. His family did not ‘do church,’ and the closest he had ever been to one was when his dad would drive by one in the family car, sometimes making fun of the words on the message board.

“What are you talking about” he saw himself say on the big screen that seemed to just hang in the air in front of him. “I said,” Jeff replied, “have you ever heard about how much Jesus loves you?” Jerry started to get very nervous as he watched his much younger self on that big screen push that kid to the ground after he had told him what he could do with his Jesus buddy, something he had not planned on doing but the kid was starting to bother him and after all, he was there for football, not religious stuff.

The next time that the Lord made a special call to Jerry was nearly twenty years to the day from the football camp incident, in fact it was jus three days before his thirty-seventh birthday. He was at the near-years eve party at the office, an annual event that was talked about for weeks afterwards, the debauchery, lewdness and revelry seemed to grow with each passing year, but this one, this one on that big screen hanging in the air up there was one he specifically remembered. His wife had initially joined him for the festivities but had decided to leave early because Ted from just a few doors down from Jerrys office had been trying to be romantic with her all night. Jerry had done nothing about it, in fact he had laughed about it, telling her that it was all in good fun, but it was not the kind of fun that his wife wanted, so she had left in anger while he had laughed. Neither of them had been completely faithful to each other in the marriage, but it was not something that was ever discussed, just glossed over.

Jerry started to violently shake now, the sweat was pouring off him as he watched on the screen the young secretary who had started talking to him about the Savior, the one who was sitting on the throne in front of him. She spoke about how she had met Him a year and a half ago, how He had changed her life, gave it meaning, how even when things went ‘badly’ now, she knew she would be forever loved, and how he could know this unending love also. He watched himself on the screen as he laughed her to scorn, at the top of his voice mockingly laughing at her at the drunken party, bringing her to tears as he gathered everyone together to ridicule her until she finally headed for the door, telling all of them as they laughed at her through the tears streaming down her face that she forgave them.

Now the picture on the screen changed, it was the day before he died, the last full day of Jerrys life on earth, the day before he had opened his eyes in that twilight darkness, that terrible heat that he had been trapped in for nearly a thousand years. “Jerry,” pastor Rick from a few blocks  down the street was saying, “you have been on my heart lately, I’m not sure why, we’ve never really talked before, I have never seen you in church, but I just have a sense that the Lord wants me to speak with you.” “Oh great, the Bible thumper wants to talk to me.” Jerry saw the words float above his head like in a comic book, and it struck him as odd because he remembered thinking them but not speaking them aloud. What he did say was “Well, what’s on your mind preacher.” “I’m not really sure,” the young pastor said, “nothing like this has ever happened to me before, but I woke up this morning and for some reason you were the first thing on my mind. I tried to shake the feelings off, after all, like I said, we really don’t know each other, and we’ve never even said much more than a ‘Good morning,’ to each other, but I am a man of faith, and what I believe is that the Lord Jesus wants me to talk to you.”

Jerry watched as the young man told him about the one who shed His blood for him, he listened as the tears now rolled down his face as Rick spoke of an all encompassing love, about the one who was sitting right in front of him now with a very sad looking expression on His face. As Jerry fell to his knees, his hands covering his face in shame and the realization of where he was and who it was that was seated in front of him sunk in, he heard the Jerry from all those years ago tell that young pastor, “Thanks, but no thanks pastor, I’m a good guy and I’ll get there on my own.”

“Jerry,” he now heard the one on the throne say, the bright one who had been there all along, the one he know knew was the Lord Jesus Christ, “I loved you so much, I gave you all the opportunities I could possibly give anyone, I gave my life for you.” Jerry felt someone come up behind him then, he felt the arms of someone very strong gently but firmly pick him up as if he was a bag of feathers, he could hear the heart wrenching, terrible screams of “I’m a good guy, I’m a good guy” passing from his lips that were quivering profusely. He saw a door open, a massive door, he could hear piercing screams, incredible wailing, and behind him he heard the one on the throne say, “I loved you so much Jerry, I wanted you here with me, but you would not have it.”

As the angel that was carrying him dropped Jerry towards a terrible, incredible sight that looked like a lake on fire, full of screaming people in painful anguish, he heard behind him the one on the throne who seemed to be weeping sadly thru tears say, “Depart from me, ye accursed.”     

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