I believe one of the reasons God has me living with my grandparents is so I can be a light to them, so that through me He can reach out to them.
Both my grandparents have been “Christians” for most of their lives. They both accepted Christ in their early 20’s, and have attended church since then. My grandpa served in many mission trips, doing carpentry work in third-world countries such as Fiji and Samoa. He was also a deacon at one point. My grandma long served as a children’s Sunday school teacher.
Despite all that, I’m convinced that they don’t truly know the Lord. My grandma goes to United Church of Christ, a liberal church that doesn’t believe in the authority of the Word. (They’re for gay marriage and abortion, and so is my grandma.) My grandpa, after having attended church for decades, decided about 5 years ago to stop attending. He believes that Christ is just one of many ways to God.
Living with them provides plenty of good opportunities for me to practice apologetics. My grandpa is opinionated and outspoken (like me) so there are naturally many debates in the house.
Grandpa: “How can a God who’s supposed to be loving order the Israelites to go into Canaan and wipe out every man, woman, child, and animal living there? That’s cruel.”
Me: “Because the Canaanites worshiped false gods. If the Israelites had settled with them, they would have joined them and turned from God.”
Grandpa: “God ordered the Israelites to destroy innocent people. How could a loving god do that? Something is fishy about the Bible.”
Me: “Why do you assume they were innocent? They worshiped false gods, practiced human sacrifice, sexual immorality, and other sins. They were wicked. That’s why God ordered that they be destroyed.”
Grandpa: “I thought God was supposed to be loving? Destroying them doesn’t sound very loving. They didn’t have any Bibles to read. How were they supposed to know they should follow God? Only the Jews knew it, because they were God’s chosen people. That doesn’t sound very fair to me.”
Me: “They knew about God, and chose to reject him. Everyone has a chance to either accept God or reject him, Jew or Gentile alike. Look at the Roman centurion in the New Testament. He was a Roman – a Gentile – yet Jesus said there was no one in all of Israel with faith as great as him. Or King Cyrus, another Gentile. God used him to return the Jews to Israel. ”
Grandpa: “So only the smart, good people get saved? What about everyone else?”
Me: “Consider Rahab, the prostitute She wasn’t smart or “Godly.” She was a prostitute. Yet she chose to accept God, and was saved. God doesn’t want to destroy people. He wants to save them. That’s why God said that even if there were ten righteous people in Sodom, he would save the city. But there weren’t ten righteous people in the entire city. There was just Lot and his family. So God saved the only righteous people in the city, and destroyed everything else.”
That was the gist of today’s conversation. My grandpa just laughed and said, “There’s something fishy about the Bible.” That’s what he usually says. But I pray for him every day, and I think at some point he’ll come to accept Jesus.