These are your acceptable answers:
I don’t know.
I can’t recall.
I don’t understand the question.
I was reviewing the notes my attorney had given me to prep me for my deposition. He further advised me, “Just answer the question. Do not give them extra information, this does not help you!” It reminded me of the famous television character, Sgt. Joe Friday, in “Dragnet” as he liked to implore the women he was questioning, “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
A deposition is used to gather information outside the courtroom. It is a legal statement, taken under oath and the penalty of perjury. It is part of the discovery process as attorneys probe witnesses to find points to support their positions for their clients. Although I was a minor witness in this lawsuit, the apprehension I experienced was quite high and I was quite relieved when it was over. My attorney reassured me that I did well and made no major gaffes.
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
Proverbs 10:19 (NKJV)
There are times to be effusive in our words and there are times to be measured in our speech. A deposition is a serious testimony and words must be chosen carefully. When it comes to sharing the Gospel with others, the consequences are even more dire. One’s eternal salvation may depend upon how one responds to the invitation. Yet, so often, instead of succinctly proclaiming the Good News, as I should, it becomes an exercise in theological verbiage, leaving my listener more confused than when I began. What if I had only a few minutes to distill the Good News of Jesus Christ to someone, what would I say?
Five years ago, I was faced with a tragic situation. My father suffered a massive heart attack in Hawaii while awaiting a routine outpatient cataract surgery. He never recovered as he was transported to the hospital by ambulance. I was in Los Angeles and my sister and my father were in the ICU at a Honolulu hospital. After twelve hours, the cardiologist called me and informed my sister and me that there was no chance for recovery and we needed to make the decision to discontinue his life support. I instructed my sister to hold the phone to my father’s ear. I was completely unprepared for this rapid turn of events but knew this was the last opportunity I would ever speak to him.
“DAD! I hope you can hear me.” I was desperately fighting back my tears and attempting to keep my voice steady. “I love you but you need to know that as much as I love you, God loves you even more. He has been reaching out to you for your entire life. He has been patient with you but now you have to make a decision. There is no tomorrow. God is waiting for you to accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior. I love you Dad! There is nothing more important I can tell you at this moment!”
Those were the last words I spoke to him. We waited a few minutes for some glimmer of response but when none came, everyone in the hospital room said their goodbyes, and he quietly passed. He never awoke from his comatose state. I do not know if he heard me and if he did, whether he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
For over thirty years after I became a Christian, I witnessed and shared the Good News of Jesus Christ to my father. There were moments when I thought we were making a connection but too often, my message became muddled with extraneous facts and details and I lost my father’s interest. How I wish I could have been as succinct and direct as I spoke to him in the last moments of his life.
No extra information, just the facts.
I pray that God will have mercy on my father’s soul and all who hear the Good News of salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.