One of my great burdens resides in the reality of the excruciating torture being inflicted on brothers and sisters in Christ in North Korea at this very moment. A few weeks ago I wrote about this, including drawings of some of the types of tortures they are enduring.
I have this fantastic dream of how this could all be resolved. What if Kim Jong-un became a believer and used his almost absolute dictatorial power to propagate Christianity within North Korea, not forcing it on his people but doing everything possible to expose them to the message?
I believe that in a short time this utterly horrendous country characterized by starvation, poverty, and bleakness would rise to become a garden spot and a tremendous testimony to the transforming power of God both in individual lives and in a society. What a blessing this would be to the Christians of that country and to that nation as a whole. Even more, what a testimony North Korea would be to the world. I frequently pray for this miracle.
In thinking about and praying for this miraculous transformation of North Korea, I ponder what it would take to bring Kim Jong-un to repent of his wickedness, submit the authority of Jesus Christ, and receive His redemption? My sense is that it would require him to become so overwhelmed by his sinfulness, the thousands of innocent people who have died at his hand and other atrocities, and the realization that someday he will die and stand before God who would judge him for his sins and consign him to a horrible eternal hell, and that he would be unable to sleep because of the agony of his soul. Day after day he would be haunted with the reality that with all of his power, he lacks the power to escape death, and that after death comes judgment and eternity. Being confronted with that reality might bring him to repentance.
Powerful and affluent people, in fact most people, only seek forgiveness and submit to Jesus Christ when confronted with their wickedness and its eternal consequences. That is why, as I noted in my previous post, God’s spokesmen, including Jesus Christ, would begin their ministry exposing sin and its consequences and by calling people to repent.
This is why today’s evangelical message of “God loves you” produces so little in-depth fruit. Our unwillingness to confront individuals in our society regarding their sin has resulted in a sinless society. I served as a hospice chaplain for 4 ½ years. I have stood with many families after patients have passed away. As I recall, one hundred percent of these deceased patients were “had gone to a better place.” Why shouldn’t they? In a society, where no behavior is wrong, no one is a sinner. Therefore, there is no reason they should not go to heaven. Evangelicals perpetuate this myth by their unwillingness to identify sin and speak of God’s wrath and judgment toward the sin and the sinner, instead limiting their message to “God loves you.”
My previous post indicated that this “God loves you” message didn’t seem to leave an imprint on Bill Clinton. I would expect the same result from Barack Obama. Unfortunately, the scope of his power in this country today does not significantly differ from that of Kim Song-un in North Korea. I likewise believe that the only thing that could reach him would be the fear of eternal damnation. Evangelicals are not only unwilling to preach that message, but they mock previous Christian generations who spoke of fire and brimstone, conveying that we now have graduated beyond that approach to Christianity.
The reality is that it is hard to preach the bad news and much easier to share the good news. Did I tell you how great you look? I didn’t happen to mention that it looks like you gained 20 pounds since I last saw you. We all are willing to give the good news. And in this society of unconditional acceptance the bad news is especially offensive.
May the Lord give us the love and courage to give people the message that will make them serious about salvation.