The Room Examined - John 3:16-21

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I first saw the story I am about to share with you on the wall of a cubicle at work.  It had been copied from an article in The Columbus Dispatch.   Then I got a close copy of it in my email with the subtitle, “...beware this is really powerful.”


Let’s read and then examine The Room.



The Room

By Brian Keith Moore


In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. 


There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings.


As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read, "People I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.


And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my entire life. The actions of my every moment, big and small, were written in a detail my memory couldn't match.


A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.  A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." 


The titles ranged from common, everyday things to the not-so-common -- "Books I Have Read", "Lies I Have Told", "Comfort I have Given", "Jokes I Have Laughed at".


Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my Brothers and Sisters". Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents."


I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.


I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had time in my 17 years to write each of these thousands or millions of cards? But each card confirmed the truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each card was signed with my signature.


When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I have listened to," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.


When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think such a moment had been recorded.


A feeling of humiliation and anger ran through my body.  One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!"


In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't mattered now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.


Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The file bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With."


The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands.  I could count the cards it contained on one hand.


And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried.  I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes.


No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.


Then as I looked up through my tears, I saw Him enter the room.  No, please, not Him.  Not here.  Anyone but Jesus.


I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. The few times I looked at His face I saw such sadness that it tore at my heart.  He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.  Why did He have to read every one?


Finally, He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again.  He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things.  But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. 


Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.


"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no, " as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive.  The name of Jesus covered mine.


It was written in blood.


He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.   He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."


I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door.  There were still cards to be written.



The Examination

When I first read this story I thought, “wow, what a thoughtful, powerful, loving depiction of the blood of Christ covering my sin”.  But is it?  Let’s examine more closely what “The Room” teaches, how it compares to The Bible, and where that teaching leads.


An Accounting

Is the concept of a room like that in the story valid?  It could be.  Matt 12:36 teaches that we shall have to give an accounting of our words in the day of judgment.  Romans 14:12 says that every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.  Revelation 20:12 gives us a scene of judgment according to our works.  It seems the concept is valid.  

Hear God's Word

Romans 10:14 shows that we must hear God’s word in order to believe.  The character in “The room” knew who Jesus was.  He says, “Anyone but Jesus”.  We also see a drawer about sharing the gospel.  He seems to have heard God’s word.  


Believe Jesus is God's Son

Romans 10:10 begins, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness”.  The character in “The room” seems to believe that Jesus has the power to take away sin.  Can we imply that he believes that he is the Son of God?  


Repent of Sin

Acts 17:30 teaches that God , “now commandeth all men every where to repent”“The room” shows no repentance, only humiliation, anger, sorrow and shame.  These feelings may lead to a change of heart and action, but are not a change by themselves.  Perhaps we have to imply again.  


Confess Jesus

Romans 10:10 ends, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”.  In “The room”, we see recognition of Jesus and that his blood covers sin, but no explicit declaration that he is the Son of God.  Perhaps it is implied again.  


Be Baptized for Remission of Sin

In answer to the question “What must we do to be saved”, Peter answers in Acts 2:38, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sinsRomans 6:3-4 teaches, Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  I Peter 3:21 shows that Baptism saves us by giving us the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Gal 3:27 affirms that we must put on Christ, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ”. We know that the character in “The room” was not baptized before he entered the room, because he still had his sins and there is no account of him being baptized while there.  



“The Room” falsely teaches universal salvation by the blood of Christ with no action by the saved.  In fact, it teaches salvation against the will of the one being saved as the character in the story tried to prevent Jesus from applying his blood. 


John 3:16-17“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”


Yes, the Bible teaches a universal offering of salvation by the blood of Christ.  But the saved must accept that salvation through hearing, believing, repenting of sin, confessing Christ before men and baptism for the remission of sin.


If we are deceived into believing we are saved through the washing of the blood of Christ when we are not, we are lost.

Eve, deceived by the father of lies through the addition of the word “not” in Gen 3:3, acted against the will of God and could not remain with him as a result.  We need to be careful not to be deceived in like manner, but go to God’s words to determine our actions.


-- Zachary Van Tassel, January, 2001 --


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