I have a really hard time with people who think I’m going to HELL.
I want to love them, I really do. But there’s a wicked woman inside of me that wants to smirk, and say, “See you there.” And I am a woman of Faith, who has been taught and believed in redemption all of my life. I am a woman who believes in forgiving others, loving them despite (or perhaps because of) their flaws, and turning the other cheek. I still want to laugh scornfully at these people.
Over the last few years, I have come to believe that studying and observing Torah, God’s law, is beneficial. The more I learn and obey, the firmer my conviction becomes. If you would like to read a list of the blessings that obedience carries, read Deuteronomy 28. There are curses there, as well.
I’ve been told that, by observing the “Law,” I have come under the “Curse,” and my salvation has been revoked. Wow. This message is always borne by people who live under a far more stringent set of behavioral standards than my own. (Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t swear, don’t dance, don’t, don’t, don’t associate with those who do!)
I do not obey Torah fully, because there are lots of things I don’t yet know or understand. I am patient. Meanwhile, I am not interested in religious systems that claim to provide the “how-to” on Torah observance. In my experience, they restrict behaviors that Torah permits, and justify behaviors that Torah condemns. I’ll stick with the scriptures, thanks. There is great freedom, there. In case you are a Christian, and didn’t know, the standard do’s and don’ts of American Evangelicalism are far, far more restrictive than Torah. And they vary from church to church, leaving C hristians in a constant state of confusion, debate, and comparison.
I don’t fully understand how it all works. I don’t care. YHWH says that his Law is a blessing. His people begged for it, offering themselves and their offspring to Him in exchange. I would do the same.
Freed from the church and its demands, my life has become a thing of joy. I am healthier than ever before. My marriage is happier. My days are filled with trust and peace, instead of striving and comparing. I am freer and freer. I know that God has my good at heart. I have seen the blessing that His teachings are, first hand. The biggest blessing is their simplicity.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Would you like it if someone told you that YOU were going to HELL? No? Then, perhaps we are taking the wrong approach.
It’s funny. I was taught and believed that “spreading the gospel” was the right thing to do. That handing out tracts at Halloween was an admirable act.
And then I became the one who was “going to Hell.”
And everything changed.
A teenage friend of mine told me recently about a mission trip she took to an inner city neighborhood. She and her cohorts put on plays, depic ting the “gospel” story. Afterwards, they attempted to converse with those who observed. “We’ve had plenty of church people come and tell us what bad people we are,” was the general response. These kids went, hoping to sow seeds of hope amongst people in desperate need of some good news. But the soil was rock hard, because others had come before; bearing hard, blunt words with which to beat the people down.
“Repent and be SAVED!”
“God hates FAGS!”
“You’re going to HELL!”
And we wonder why people aren’t lining up at the church door. And we BLAME THEM!!!
I’ve been on the receiving end of this “Gospel,” now. And believe it or not, it is NOT GOOD NEWS! Being told that you’re going to Hell by someone who believes that they have a ticket to enter where you cannot go does not inspire gratefulness. It makes people want to moon you.
You say you want to save peoples’ souls, and to set the captives free? Start by looking in the mirror, and into God’s word. Are you acting like Jesus? How many “sinners” are YOUR friends? Or, do you look a lot more like the untouchable Pharisees, following the rules? Are you getting “dirty,” loving people, or are you beating them down with your religiosity, convinced that being “right” is the highest good?
Did you tell someone they were going to Hell, today? Did they think it was Good News?