Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sylvester & Tweety Bird

I talk about Jesus a lot...on this blog, in my classes, in my books, in my life. I talk about things like relationship, salvation, freedom, holiness, and resurrection. Why are all those things so important to me? Why do I care?

Forgive the child-like simplicity of this story, but, well, I was a child when it happened. Remember the old cartoons? You know - the good ones - like Looney Tunes. Whenever a cartoon character, such as Sylvester the Cat, had to make a decision, two more Sylvesters would show up, one dressed in an angelic robe and one decked out like Satan with a pointy tail and a pitchfork. They would then plead their case as to why Sylvester should or should not pop poor little Tweety Bird into his mouth.

Albeit incorrect, this imagery led to my first understanding of how we enter heaven. In my mind, I envisioned two similar characters in heaven standing by a dry-erase board. Of course it was a dry-erase board because I always thought they were so much cooler than chalkboards. To one side of the board was an angelic being in the white robes and golden halo. Her job was to make a mark each time I did something good or right.

Shared my toys – got a mark.
Finished my vegetable soup – got a mark.
Went to bed when I was told – got a mark.

Standing to the other side of the board was a more satanic being, complete with pointy tail. Her job was to make a mark when I did something bad.

Yelled at my brothers – got a mark.
Not do what mom said – got a mark.
Was mean to a friend – got a mark.

My thinking was that, when I died, whichever side had the most marks would determine if I went to heaven or hell.

Riding home from church one Sunday, in the back seat of my parent’s car, I remember very clearly when something clicked inside me. It was a fabulous “light-bulb” moment.

"If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" (Psalm 130:3 ESV).

The marks didn’t matter, regardless of which side of the board they were on. The board was wiped clean when Jesus died on the cross. The bad wouldn’t be held against me; the good wouldn’t increase my chances of going to heaven. I will go to heaven only because Jesus made it possible by sacrificing Himself on the cross and resurrecting three days later.

Things got messy in the next part of the story, though. To read more, please click here.

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