One of the more difficult aspects of witnessing is showing Mormons the seriousness and extent of their sins. From little on up, they are told they are basically good and are filled with divine potential. Any talk about how sinful all people are is foreign to them. Such talk is not part of their culture or vocabulary.
Therefore, we need to talk about it repeatedly. This is why we have given you numerous ways to talk about sin. Here’s another one. It the story of Moses hitting the rock instead of speaking to it with the result God told him he couldn’t enter the Promise Land. The incident is recorded in Numbers 20:1-12. We like to use it for the following reasons:
- Most people consider hitting the rock instead of speaking to it a minor offense.
- If anybody had done a lot of good, it was Moses. Not only that, he was a prophet par excellence. This is how he is described in Deut. 34: 10-11:
And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land.
- The consequence of his sin was severe: being denied entry into the Promised Land after leading the obstinate nation of Israel for 40 years in the wilderness!
Although Moses was a prophet and did much good, God didn’t give him a pass. God didn’t say his good outweighed his bad. Moses suffered major consequences for his sinful disobedience.
When you think about it, this holds true not just in God’s courtroom, but in courtrooms around the world. When a good and upstanding citizen breaks the law, he or she isn’t given a pass. They still get speeding tickets. They still receive prison sentences. The good they did doesn’t cancel or outweigh the bad.
This is the point you will want to make. Regardless of who a person is (i.e. a prophet) or what he has done (“all the signs and wonders”), their sin will still be punished. Even “small” sins committed towards the end of a productive and impressive life. None of it matters.
Sin is so serious that there is no way we can do anything to lessen its punishment. Our trying to assuage God’s anger over sin is like trying to use a water pistol to stem a raging forest fire. Not only is it totally insignificant, it will also put us right in the path of the fire!
The only way of escape is letting Jesus do all the work. He douses God’s anger with his blood. He carries us on his shoulders to safety. He is the one who saves us.