Imagine remembering… for eternity… in hell… the time when you could have been saved, but decided not to. Imagine remembering… for eternity… choosing to walk away from the one person (Jesus) who would have saved you, but you rejected him and his offer. Imagine have a regret of that magnitude… for all eternity.
There was a man who came to the right person (Jesus), with the right attitude (Kneeling), asking the right question (How can I inherit eternal life?). And walked away worse than when he was before. He missed heaven because of idolatry. Consider Mark 10:17-22…
And as (Jesus) was setting out on his journey, a man ran up & knelt before him &asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father & mother.'” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, & said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have & give to the poor, & you will have treasure in heaven; & come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
He missed being saved by “just that much”… because the idol of his heart was money and possessions.
His regret is valuing money and possessions more than Jesus. For others it is reputation or family or… or… or. The sad thing is that no one is able to recognize the presence of an idol in their life unless it is revealed to them. Idols hide in our blind spots of rationalization and justification. After all, were not all THAT bad. There are others who are much worse than we are morally. We do good things ever so often. Like the mafia hit man, “I may kill people for a living… but I love my mother!”
Oh God deliver us from blindness to our sin of idolatry hiding in our blind spot!