I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred and fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the grey truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Now why would I know that? How can I know that and not know who I am?
Jason Bourne, The Bourne Identity (2002)
Earlier this evening I rewatched The Bourne Identity, with a view to rewatching its two sequels at some points over the coming week. I enjoyed the film again, but the above quote struck a chord with me. I’ve never a) been an assassin or b) forgotten about it. At least, not as far as I remember.
I have, however,grown up with the immense privilege of two Christian parents. They have brought me up to regularly attend church and read the Bible. I have believed in the God of the Bible for as long as I can remember, and I’ve never been under any false impressions about His character, thinking of Him as either a cute and cuddly Santa-like figure who gives presents to all the good little Christians, or as a malicious sadist who smites and smotes.
The reason The Bourne Identity made me think of this is that Jason Bourne, while suffering from amnesia, knows about himself, but does not know himself. In much the same way, I spent my entire childhood knowing about God without ever knowing God. I knew the Bible’s teaching, and I mentally assented to it, but it made no difference to me. Now, as a Christian, I know God personally and the difference is immense. We are born to know God, and the countless number of children (and adults) who know the gospel without ever seeking God are merely storing up judgement for themselves slightly more knowledgeably than some others.
At my home church, virtually all the church kids of my generation do, by God’s grace, seem to have a genuine faith in Him. At the church I’m part of at university, to the best of my knowledge, not one church kid is a Christian. They both preach the gospel and pray for their children, so I don’t mean this to reflect on one church as better than the other. Instead I mean you to see that this is something which is close to my heart as I see the huge contrast. A group of people who have already heard all your gospel explanations, all your intellectual arguments, all your pleading, and still reject Christ is difficult to reach. May God open their hearts, and use them to remind those of us who are saved that we do not win souls in our own strength.