Living HELL

heavenhellI was listening on the radio today a person talking about believing in hell.  He asked if the listener believes in hell, and if the answer was yes, then than meant that the listener had to make an important decision about Jesus.  In other words, if I believe that hell exists, then believing in Jesus becomes crucial.  I just shook my head in disbelief and changed the station.  Does this mean that I must believe in the Gospel of Jesus simply because not doing so will guarantee an eternal damnation in hell?  This leads me to follow Jesus out of fear, not out of love.  I understand the concept of the consequence of not choosing to believe in God and living as if God does not exist.  I believe that a Godless life must be really miserable.  But teaching that believing in Jesus is important because it prevents me from going to eternal damnation is a twisted message.

Jesus is about unconditional love.  He did talk about those that will be judged because they chose to live wicked lives. But the main message , the main purpose about Jesus is simply to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  The Gospels started talking about loving others, being humble, fighting for righteousness, forgiving, and having a pure heart more than it talked about avoiding hell. I guess the real message of love that Jesus taught is not chosen frequently because it may not motivate people as hell does.  Fear can move people quicker than love can.  I don’t know for sure.  But the reality is that many Christians use the scare tactics to motivate people to follow their doctrines, not Jesus.  It is sad.  It reminds me of telemarketing.  You hear a lot of messages like “Use our products and you will get rid of the wrinkles” (avoid the reminder of aging)  or “Try us for a month and you will lose 50 pounds!” (avoid obesity which threatens our lives) or “Try our product and you will save hundreds of dollars!” (avoid not having enough money).  Avoid this, avoid that.  Fear.  People respond quick to fear.

But as soon as people hear the message of “Donate blood today and you will save a life!” or “With your $1 gift, a child will not go hungry tonight!”, then they think twice about it.  Not fear.  But love.

Jesus’ message was more like “donate blood” and “give money to the poor” more than “follow me and you will avoid hell”.

Let us turn things around and follow Jesus for the right reasons.  Let us not talk to people about avoiding hell, but about embracing love, acceptance, equality, justice, mercy, peace, community, humility, and the like.  While thinking about today’s message on the radio, I thought of a nice way to turn the message of hell into a message of love.

So I just came up with the acronym of H.E.L.L. which stands for Heaven Embodied in a Legitimate Life. Heaven is where all begins, the spiritual life, God.  Embodied because heaven can be manifested and materialized with our actions here on earth.  We reflect the life that is lived in Heaven by following the teachings of Jesus.  In a Legitimate life because we must practice the Kingdom of Heaven in a sincere way, without expecting a selfish reward (avoiding hell) but knowing that we are simply serving others (Jesus).  And Life because this life is the gift that God gave us to practice Heaven. So let’s get out there and start living H.E.L.L. !!

[Between+Heaven+and+Earth2LR.jpg]

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About Noel

I am a person who has realized that the teachings of Jesus are centralized in the genuine care and service of others. I have evolved from fundamentalism to a moderate spiritual approach. I am a reflecting person who has grown to not fear doubt but to embrace it as a means to growth and increasing closeness to God. View all posts by Noel

4 responses to “Living HELL

  • Cindy Holman

    Yes there have been some REALLY interesting conversations on the subject of Hell. I don’t believe we can throw out the concept of Hell altogether either like some have done – it cheapens the gospel message and makes it unnecessary for Jesus to even come at all – let alone die on the cross. But there is a balance and I see where you’re going here. We cannot be motivated by fear – fear only lasts so long and is the wrong way to change our lifestyle. Love lasts and is the real thing – that changes us from the inside out. Hell or no Hell.

  • jeffssong

    My personal belief? If you don’t get it right (here) – then you get to do it again. And Again. And again. Until you do get it right. Then you get your wings and go onto more training. Lots of work to be done ‘upstairs’ for sure.
    When we were adopted into a family (we were abused, loveless, and alone) – we found love in the eyes of a child – and came to love completely those children whose love saved us.

    And one day while contemplating hell, I thought: could >I< put one of my children in hell? To 'burn' in eternal torment?

    No way. I'd rather go to hell for them; save them from that pit. God, I thinks, loves us no less; he would never 'throw us in hell'. No parent would – and we are ALL God's children. But that doesn't mean you don't have lessons to learn – and God gave us Free Will to make a choice – his ultimate dice in the games of the universe. Even He likes to keep things interesting, don't you think? (I believe in a dynamic God; not some frozen in time mindless statue.)
    Anyway, my two cents worth (hmmm… after taxes – a quarter pence worth?)

    • Noel

      Jeff, I also believe that God is more than an “inside the box” God who sends people to eternal damnation because we they didn’t follow certain doctrines. But I am not ready to disqualify the existence of a state of existence away from God because of our decisions in this life. We need to love to experience God.

      • jeffssong

        I totally agree there, Noel: God is all about love, creativity, and creation – and unfortunately, it takes learning to do those things God does for you, for yourself – which for abuse survivors often means developing an understanding of one’s self and motives, which leads to an empathy (compassion) – and then love and forgiveness for one’s past. We loved and forgave others easily; however, ourselves was a different matter (one we still have a few problems with). However, until we could learn to forgive ourselves and embrace ourselves with love – it was nearly impossible to see/feel god’s love – like through a thick curtain. We’re a lot happier now I think 🙂

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