Sometimes contrast makes a picture more enjoyable, and sometimes contrast can produce feelings of disjointedness or discomfort. The contrasts between Lynn and Lora left me a bit uncomfortable as I reviewed them one Monday afternoon. In the preceding hours I had taught a Bible study and showed a messianic prophecy to each. The differences in their attitudes and reactions underlined the harsh reality of Jesus’ words so long ago, He that is not with me is against me.”
Though both had initiated their contact with me on their own, Lora was searching for answers, while Lynn was just looking for a reason to reject Yeshua’ s claims. Oddly, though, Lora had appeared the more skeptical of the two.
Lora always raised her objections without hesitation. Each time I proposed the idea that Jesus fit the Old Testament description of the Messiah, Lora cited reasons she felt he fell short of the picture. To deal with her objections, I would study further and present my findings the following week. She also researched many points on her own.
Each time Lora found reason to believe my assertions, she admitted my accuracy and her own misunderstanding. I found her refreshingly honest, though I had no reason to believe she would soon accept Yeshua as God and Savior. She seemed content with her own worldview and self identity. She struck me as a secure individual who was merely interested in a broader perspective.
In contrast to Lora’s coolness, Lynn seemed excited that Jesus could be our long-awaited Messiah. She showed up each week carrying bags full of books. She read on her own, and each week she seemed even more persuaded that everyone, including a Jewish person, should accept Yeshua. Though she raised questions, she seldom waited for answers.
Her enthusiasm seemed to prevent her from being able to sit through lengthy explanations. I admired her for her ability to identify the classic arguments against the divinity of Messiah. Her sweetness and apparent sincerity kept me from even suspecting that she might not be an honest seeker.
But the truth always comes out in Yeshua’s light. It is only a matter of time before the heart is revealed. That particular Monday afternoon, God had allowed the light to shine and had helped me to see the truth.
First Lynn came to my door. I welcomed her warmly. Several weeks had passed since we had last met to study. Her words of greeting, the same as usual, sounded empty. As we sat down to begin our study she stated flatly, “Holly, don’t talk to me about this any more. I don’t want to get together for future studies. I don’t have to believe this.” She never admitted to me that each week after our studies she had visited a rabbi who specialized in dissuading people from accepting Yeshua as Messiah, but I knew. One of Lynn’s friends had called me and had explained the whole story.
That friend had prayed with Lynn’s mother as she put her trust in Jesus just a few weeks before she lost her long fight against cancer. Her battle is over now, and she is rejoicing in eternity. Lynn, however, has not recovered from the loss of her mother. It seems she related Jesus to her mother’s death, and had decided to prove that her mother had simply been deluded. Each time some convincing evidence came her way Lynn went to great lengths to disprove it.
Lora, on the other hand, was honestly looking for answers. Once she knew the facts, she was ready to act on that knowledge. She said, “I believe this. If it is true, it requires something of me. I know that. Could you tell me exactly what to do?” Moments later, Lora’s worldview greatly changed as she recognized Jesus as her Lord. For the first time, I saw her get excited about the good news.
I learned much from my relationships with Lora and Lynn. You cannot judge a book by its cover, nor a person by impressions. Jesus looks into the heart, and he expects us, with his help, to learn to see beyond a person’s exterior. Though we can never be certain of a seeker’s motives, we must try to understand why they want to know what they are asking. Finally, no matter what their motives, we should always be willing to tell them about Jesus. Scripture indicates that to those who are perishing their lostness is proved by their unreceptivity to him, but to those who are choosing eternity, he is the sweetest perfume.
The contrast between these two women helped me understand that Jesus is the same both to the honest seeker and to the closed questioner. The difference lies in the heart of the hearer. Though I am excited about Lora’s choice, I feel sorrow because Lynn is running from God. The contrast makes me uncomfortable, but I am reminded that God is God and he is able to work further in Lynn’s life.
There is always the possibility that she will turn and acknowledge his lordship. So let me close by asking that you join me in rejoicing for Lora and in praying for Lynn, as both will ultimately give honor to the Judge of all.