Monday, September 12, 2011

My First (Unspoken) Unconventional Thoughts

I can't ever remember feeling comfortable with the idea of an eternal hell.  I really thought that everyone was uncomfortable with it.  It was shocking for me to hear Dr. Laura (whom I listened to quite frequently at the time) say she would be more disappointed if there was no hell than if there was no heaven.  I knew there would have to be a "reckoning" for the evil that people do...I mean, who does not understand the need for justice?  But the idea that God just "doesn't have any other choice" than to send people to eternal hell if they don't accept Jesus, well, I never really got that.  Why couldn't they accept Jesus after they die?  Why is death the "cut off" point?... "Because people have to 'have faith' in Jesus, and when they die, it's no longer faith."  But Jesus' own disciples didn't even have faith.  They had to see him before they believed he rose from the dead, so why are they off the hook?

These were just some of the questions that plagued my mind, but I kept them to myself.  You could question and debate a few things in Christianity, but hell was not one of them.  I came across quite a few verses on my own that confirmed in my mind that death was not a hindrance to God, or a cut off point where he can no longer forgive someone.  So I made the quiet conclusion that the only people going to hell where those who even after death, and the understanding that God truly loved them, still wanted only evil.  I could live with that.  So when we had an exchange student from Japan who didn't "accept Jesus" when she was here, I didn't worry too much. (even with the pressure from one of my relatives to know if we were able to get her "saved" or not)  But my kids did worry.  And I really wished I had better answers for them.  So I kept praying and searching the scriptures.  I'll end with one of my old entries in my prayer journal.

S)  The good news has even been preached to the dead, so that after they have been judged for what they have done in this life, their spirits will live with God...most important of all, you must sincerely love each other, because love wipes away many sins. (1 Peter 4:6)
O)  Here is a scripture that supports my theory that God will give people a 2nd chance at salvation even after death.  They will be 'judged' for their actions, but Christ's blood is capable of covering them, even if they didn't 'accept' him in this life.  Also, "love wipes away many sins"...I'd like to better understand what he's talking about.  Only God can forgive sins; what does "wipe away' mean?
A)  Preaching to people is one thing; sincerely loving them is quite another.
P)  God, teach me to love others.  Use my life to wipe away many sins.