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Love Sinners or Scare Them?

The Bible is full of both love and fear. God is love (1 John 4:8). But He is also one to be feared (Mat. 10:28). As we consider responding to friends and family on our eternal future, where is the balance between God’s love for His children, and His judgment on those who remain lost? Do we just love on sinners or do we try to scare them into Heaven?

I want my home, my life, and my words to be an example of acceptance, love, and compassion for all who are seeking, questioning, and tossing all beliefs.

The quote above came from a writer who is adamantly opposed to ever telling people that they are headed to Hell. She went on to say…

Strict adherence to a certain narrow set of beliefs with the threat of hellfire for veering even the slightest is a certain path to serious mental health problems.… When God is a volatile god who can send you to hell at the drop of a hat for not having correct thinking, the universe is very unsafe…But never will I say they are bound for hell. I might say they need help, compassion, or even forgiveness….But I will not threaten them with God’s wrath. It is just too frikken above my pay grade — and arrogant to boot… I value the person over “right” thinking. I value their mental health over “correct beliefs.”

I wrote the following response, then decided not to post it…

If you believe in Heaven and Hell, have you considered what Hell will be like for those who end up there? Our lives on this earth are but a mist (James 4:14), but we are immortal and what we do on this side of the grave impacts our eternal condition. As Christians, we can express God’s love in ways that draw them to God, rather than terrify them by focusing on eternal separation from Him (Hell). To me, this is the greatest love we express to someone and is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) to which God calls all Biblical Christians to do (Matthew 9:37). Acceptance, love, and compassion are attributes to be admired on this earth (Matthew 25:31-46) but there remains a Righteous Judge (Romans 3:23, 6:23) awaiting us all as we pass from this life to the next. Where we end up will be based on the grace of God (Eph. 2:8-9), through faith (Romans 10:9-10), and not just those moments of compassion.

Why did I not respond to her comments above? For two reasons. First, because she also said….

But never will I say they are bound for hell. I might say they need help, compassion, or even forgiveness.

She used the word “forgiveness”. She “might” say “they need forgiveness”. That is what we recognize everyone needs, forgiveness from God. It can only come through His grace, our faith in Jesus, and what He did on the cross. This writer knows that, even if many of her readers do not. Her priorities are misplaced, but I know from past discussions, she is not ready to hear that.

The second reason I did not respond was because she and her followers are strongly opposed to narrow-minded, Biblical Christians. To write my response (above) would only aggravate, and not encourage Spiritual growth. This is not to say that we should never respond to false teachings.

Sadly, we live in a challenging world where eternal truth has to be expressed with grace, love, and humility, to those who are perishing. For those readers who know my writing, and are smiling… yes this is a lesson I am learning the hard way.

Jeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org

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