Mike Ruffin

Mike Ruffin

Wait costs friend her salvation

By Mike Ruffin
Religion Columnist

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“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

It was strange. The morning a longtime friend died, I woke up with the eeriest feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life. I knew something was wrong even though it was more than 14 hours before one of my high school friends called to let me know that the other friend had lost her five-year battle with cancer.

I never will forget the deep sense of loss that I felt back when I heard the news. This was a lady whom I had met in 1968 when I was in the ninth grade. We became sweethearts, dated each other almost exclusively all the way though high school and even went to the same college. She shared in every important moment of my life from the time I was 14 until my late 20s. Now those memories belonged only to me.

During the 1980s, our careers put a little distance between us, but we both continued to make an effort to stay in touch. We often talked by telephone and on occasion would have the opportunity to catch up over dinner. It didn’t take very long for us to pick right up where we left off – just the way it should be between friends.

It’s not unusual for good friends to lose touch with each other, especially when their careers take them in different directions, and that’s exactly what happened to us in the early 1990s. I relocated to Georgia, and her responsibilities as a research scientist carried her all over the world. The telephone calls lost their frequency, and dinners were now committed to memory.

When I attended a memorial service held in her honor, I realized just how much distance had been put between our friendship. Hundreds of close friends, just like me, turned out to honor the memory of a woman who had so indelibly influenced their lives.

I learned during the service, which was led by a Buddhist monk, that the final years of her life were spent searching for truth. In fact, it was that monk who revealed to us that her search for an understanding about the nature of God had taken her all over the world. I know now that she was looking for peace in what was for her a dying world.

What a sad day that was for me. The presence of that Buddhist monk was an outward and visible sign that she never discovered the truth that I know, at least not on this side of death.

The real sadness in that day didn’t come from the fact that she, too, had apparently succumbed to Buddhism. It came when I realized that for the four years that I had been a Christian, I never once mentioned Jesus Christ to her when we talked. In fact, I never even told her that I had become a Christian. It was now just a lost opportunity – the chance to lead a close friend to Christ and I looked the other way.

The tragedy of my silence is, while I could have made very little difference in the outcome of her earthly life, I could have made a lasting difference in her eternal life. I could have helped her find the truth for which she so desperately searched and told her just what the Apostle Peter meant when he said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Comments

A disgusting attitude

As usual Mr. Ruffin has displayed the arrogant attitude of many so called Christians who believe "their way" is the truth, Period. I disagree, and so do most of the other people on earth. The concept of its my way or the highway of many of our declining religions will eventually lead to their demise. But for the good people of Earth, that will be a good thing.

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