Are We Really Going To Burn In Hell?

hellburn

If you read the blog regularly, you’ll know that despite my faith in Jesus Christ, I still have a myriad of  questions that I need answers to. Should I list some?

Oh, okay then.

  1. Why does my hair shrink when water touches it?
  2. Why don’t Black lives matter?
  3. Are people born gay?
  4. Is Christianity meant to be inclusive?
  5. How does science fit with religion?
  6. Is yoga really that bad?
  7. Does it rain when God is angry?
  8. Are some people just destined to have awful lives while others are destined to be Beyoncé?
  9. Can mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia be solved with prayer alone?
  10. Is the use of medicine synonymous with a lack of faith?
  11. Does God frown upon condoms?

I could spend this whole blogpost listing some of the questions that run through my mind. Some are inconsequential (see number 1), while other answers have deeper ramifications for a significant strata of our society. With all these questions (and about 100 more) passing through my mind every day, it is no surprise that my faith is something that I wrestle with. When you choose to live by faith and not by sight, you also accept that you will navigate life with more questions than answers. And that’s okay (for now, anyway). Over the weekend, I witnessed God’s transformative power and I’m once again settled in the knowledge that He knows best (this feeling doesn’t last very long, unfortunately).

As a young Christian living in the Western world (where faith appears to be on the decline) it can be difficult sharing my faith. I realise how ludicrous it sounds, and while I am not ashamed of my faith, I’m not exactly singing it from the rooftops at work. If I am asked my views, however, I am more than happy to share them. One day, during a free period, (I work at a school), which I had given myself (God, forgive me), my friend (who happens to be an atheist) said to me:

Well, Joy, if you really believe that I, and all our other colleagues, who do not share your faith are going to hell, why aren’t you spreading your message more urgently?

My response was a stunned silence which felt like it lasted an eternity, and not the 3 seconds it actually took to formulate a response. I gave her an honest answer. I explained that if I spent my life using fear as a tool to convert people to Christianity and condemning the lifestyles of those I worked with and came across, I probably wouldn’t have anyone to evangelise to. I preferred to be all the things Jesus required of me (kind, patient, loving etc.) everyday and in the hopes that people would see the light of Christ within me.

A* answer. Full marks. Well done, Joy.

It was only when I got home that I realised that while my answer was true, it was also a cop out. I found sharing faith in secular environments awkward and it had become easier to pass under the radar and ‘live out the life of Jesus Christ’ because that enabled me to avoid questions about gay marriage, abortion and pre-marital sex. Despite coming to this conclusion, the question remained:

Why aren’t you more urgent, Joy?

I guess a part of me didn’t really believe that anyone was really going to burn in hell fire for all of eternity. Both heaven and hell had become distant concepts, concepts that my small mind could not fully comprehend. I could imagine a potential future with a husband, children (12, to be exact) and a career because those concepts were commonplace, but the idea of eternal joy or eternal suffering were beyond my scope.

I don’t think about hell or heaven much, if I’m honest. My Christianity doesn’t exist because I believe in a great reward or a great punishment, it exists because I love Jesus Christ and want nothing more than to talk to him and learn about him. Heaven is cool, but I love him more than the prize.  And I think that was part of the problem: I had become so used to my relationship with Jesus that I had failed to view the entire picture.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

If I knew when the world was going to come to an end, what would I do differently? Would this knowledge cause me to become more urgent with my evangelism?  Would it cause me to stand on street corners declaring the second coming of our Saviour King?

Maybe.

What’s more likely is that I’d be on my knees repenting for all known and unknown sins, pacing the rooms and fasting until I passed out. I joke. Kind of. What I’m really saying is that I had become so selfish with this precious truth that even in a hypothetical situation where the exact date and time that Jesus was returning was known to me, it probably wouldn’t impact the intensity of my evangelism.

I think a lot of us have neglected the great commission and have become afraid of sharing the truth with others because we do not want to seem intolerant, weird or fanatic. But what if their lives depended on it? If we truly believed that there was a God coming to judge all of mankind, why wouldn’t we do more? We should…or maybe we don’t really believe in it all.

Lots of love,

Joy

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