Posts Tagged ‘hell’

Do you believe in Hell?

When I was on an Instant Messenger with a few of my friends the other night, the topic somehow came to spirituality. One of my friends, the instigator of the conversations is a Christian by belief but not practice, the other is a friend who is a proud Pagan, and the final was one who can best be described as a spiritual intelligentsia, he has no direct faith in any one religion but believes a piecemail almost pluralist approach.

The instigator wanted to know what my church’s opinion was on Hell and the damned. I took quite some time to think about it but soon realized that my church doesn’t really refer to much about Hell, they aren’t telling you how if you drink an alcoholic beverage you will burn in Hell or anything of the sort. Rather, my church concentrates on living a surrendered life here on Earth to serving Christ and showing his love to others.

This was not an acceptable answer to my friend with questions so he finally asked what my belief was on Hell. I was raised in my early years in a strict Free Will Baptist home which does preach of fire and brimstone but later resolved to a more liberal Baptist church. In my mid-teens I gave up on religion almost completely but never lost faith in God as a whole. I simply thought their must be other gods too and that all Christians were judgmental bigots. At one time, I went to a Unitarian church with my brother but never really found much of interest there. It wasn’t until I finally had to look at losing everything in this world in a single sweep that I began to really believe in God’s power and the love of Christ. Now, I serve in a wonderful church that is not judgmental nor overbearing.

That aside, I basically explained to this friend that I felt that one must truly believe in God, acknowledge Him, and believe in Christ. Humans, as a whole, could never live up to the impossible standards that God has set for those to be like him so therefore, he sent his only son, Jesus, to earth to die for our sins. Now, we can have made every mistake in the books but because of Jesus, God does not see our sin as black and white, rather, he seesĀ  his son between us who mediates for us. Why is this and what does it mean really? I can’t answer that, but if God is small enough to be understood, he is not powerful enough to be worshiped.

So then, what is my belief in Hell? I never got to tell my friend but as I was gently dealing with loss of my grandmother who passed only an hour to the time this was written, I thought about the fact that she is in Heaven simply because she believed in Christ. Is there a lake of fire where sinners are cast? I do not know this and no human should try to prove this. Rather, one who either has never heard the word of God and thus can’t be seen as flawless through Jesus or one who once believed in God but then denied him or denied Christ, they will be separated from God. Hell, is the separation from God. Hell is knowing that when you die, that’s it…there is nothing else for you…you will never know true life because you didn’t put your faith in God. To be damned is to be cursed to not have eternal life. Whereas, one who believes and worships Christ and God, they will be seen as flawless in God’s eyes and when the Lord takes them, they will go to live with him forever. More than this…I can never say I know for sure.

What about the Devil then? Isn’t he here on earth trying to take you away with his army of demons. Yes. Is he someone you can see who looks like a red horned man, I certainly hope you can’t ever know the face of the Devil. I believe that it is his power to try to draw us away from God, to make us turn our backs and lose that chance at a life. Does he have a place he takes you that is full of fire and brimstone? I don’t know that. I can’t know that. I just know that if I don’t believe in God and I don’t have faith, I might find out.

I can’t tell you if there’s Heaven or Hell, but I can tell you that one who believes in God and has surrendered their life to his will through belief in Christ and following as directed will know a life more blessed than otherwise. Since I gave up always trying to please myself and have learned to listen for God’s will in my life (albeit not as often as I should), I really feel like my life is just blessed. I have been given so many blessings for someone my age and I do try my best to use those blessings for good. I have a wonderful job that I gain income to allow me to give the best life I can to my wife, I offer things to my friends (pizza, rides, a place to sleep and many other things) that come at expense to me but I wouldn’t see doing otherwise since God has blessed me with more funds than others through nothing more than me following his will (He really did lead me to my job). I have a heart of compassion for children but have none of my own. I could be bitter with God for not giving me some children but instead, I have embraced the idea when he has called me to do foster work, giving love to children who have the hardest lives at such a tender age. He has blessed me with the ability to understand others moreso than myself sometimes and I have offered many a good advice to those who asked.

With all these things, my life has been truly enriched. Not to mention the laughter, the love, the peace and soundness that knowing I have a friend so much more powerful than I could ever imagine who will do as I asked if it is his will…allowing me to do more than I ever thought possible. That is a blessing. I could see how one who does not have that peace and who has never opened their hearts to the power of God could feel like their life is a living Hell. I certainly view what I used to have as Hell.

So, that’s my belief. It may not say anything backed up by scientific facts and may seem rooted in old time religion, but that’s what I believe. If you want to ask me about this, I will tell you how you get this kind of relationship. If you don’t, I hope you at least understand where I come from. And if this touched you, TELL ME ABOUT IT! I like knowing that my words are read.