There is nothing more tragic than a person who knows nothing about hope. In particular, the hope of salvation available to every person who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
I was going through the cable channels this evening looking for something to watch, when I ran across the Biography Channel. Like so many networks these days, Biography has created a sizeable amount of paranormal related programming.
One of those shows is called Celebrity Ghost Stories. Fair warning. What I'm about to relate on this post is pretty spooky.
I stopped briefly as I came across the program, intrigued immediately by the story being recounted by actor Mykelti Willamson (most famous for his role as "Bubba" in Forest Gump). What he was describing in the segment was an experience from ten years ago, when he received a frightening phone call from a childhood friend (one often involved in crime with a rough life) who had died a few days prior.
What's truly chilling about the story is he describes his friend crying out to him during this bizarre phone call, begging Mykelti for help, saying over and over "I don't want to go there!" and "you know how to help me!" Mykelti Williamson recounted that as he listened, stunned, to the desperate pleas of a friend he knew to be dead, he could also hear angry, screaming voices and what reminded him of the crackling sound of a particularly hot fire pit or barbecue. Mykelti Williamson stated in the interview that he was raised to believe there is an actual place called hell, but he also said he believed "bad karma" had caught up to his troubled friend. Earlier in the interview he also mentioned that his grandmother and mother could "see the spirit of death" on a person, and whenever they did, they left that person to their fate.
It's obvious when watching the interview, Mykelti Williamson believes he received a "phone call from beyond". He said he had no idea why his friend thought he could help him, and the only hope any person has to avoid a similar fate is to "live in the light."
How sad that Mykelti Williamson doesn't seem to understand none of us must be slaves to "karma", or merely hope the good or "light" in our lives will ultimately outweigh the bad. Such a view is incredibly precarious leaving no real assurance that on the day we die we will find ourselves in a "better place".
As Christians, we know there is in fact a greater hope for all people which goes beyond simply "living in the light" or trusting in our own merits.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved". Romans 10: 9-10 (NIV)
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6(NIV)
This is the reason we must never tire of telling people the good news of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. When I hear stories, such as the one told by Mykelti Willamson, I am saddened because they are being deceived and drawn into wrong beliefs about God and the afterlife. Many people simply don't seem to understand the incredible grace and hope available to us all, especially those who have lived or are living a troubled (even criminal) life.
Salvation available as a free gift to all who will accept it.
As Christians, we must always be willing to reach out and share the truth of the gospel with everyone, praying that through our witness the Holy Spirit will move people to receive His amazing love and forgiveness. So when the day of our inevitable death comes, we will experience the realization of the hope by which we currently live.