Tag Archives: forgiveness

Apology Accepted???

I’m having a quandary about apologies. It’s not that I have a problem accepting them. It’s not that I am unable to forgive. Sometimes, I am even able to forget.

Rather, my problem is with how to respond to them.

Once upon a time, I could simply say “That’s OK” or “Don’t worry about it.”

I can’t do that as much anymore, particularly in my family life, and that bothers me. I don’t have a good way to respond to an apology from, say, my daughter or wife that I feel both acknowledges my thankfulness to have been apologized to, without letting the other person off the hook.

Let me explain, because my problem is different relative to the two individuals I’ve mentioned (I’ve left out Son of Blue because, frankly, he doesn’t find himself in many positions that require apology, and when he does, they are minor things typically).

Little Girl Blue gave me some serious drama a couple mornings ago, and eventually, she apologized. I said “thank you” because saying “That’s OK” would seem to me to give her the impression that whatever she did to bring on the apology was OK. And I want her to know I appreciate the apology. But I was reminded of how tricky this is for a little girl when I was explaining to her on the way to daycare why what she had been doing was so bothersome. She got tired of listening to me and said, basically, “I said sorry…isn’t it over now?” (3.9 years old going on 16…)

I had to explain to her that the apology is the beginning. The way to really show she’s sorry is to not keep repeating the same tantrum behaviors and other nonsense that cause me to get mad to begin with. And so I still don’t know the best way to let her know apologies are good, and welcome, and desired…but that something more is required on her part than just saying some words.

And then there is Mrs. Blue, whom I love dearly. Who shall never be replaced by anyone. Whom I would catch a chestful of bullets for. She reminds me of the problem of adult apologies, more so than any other adult, because as my spouse she has many more opportunities to do me wrong and treat me badly (and the same goes for me in relation to her…I’m no angel).

There are some recurring patterns that cause her to be unnecessarily mean to me and that cause me to get royally pissed off on a periodic basis. I’m happy to hear an apology from her, in large part because I know she means it more than Little Girl Blue does, but I don’t know how to respond in a way that says, “thanks for saying that, I really do forgive you…however, I might still be a little salty from the leftover stings and the knowledge that this is probably going to happen again in a few days or a couple weeks.” (which is a bit long, you see…)

“Thank you” seems too simple, informal and childish to me somehow, but it’s the best thing I have. In other words, I’m stuck with the same response as with my child, but it doesn’t seem to fit in the adult world, and I don’t have an alterantive.

Because “That’s OK” certainly doesn’t work. What happened wasn’t OK, or I wouldn’t have been upset to begin with.

“Apology accepted” is like some passive-aggressive formal thing. It doesn’t have any emotion or love in it; it’s a rubber stamp from the bureaucracy of the mind.

“Forget about it” certainly doesn’t work because, well, I want the other person to remember not to do that to me again.

And not responding at all verbally to the apology suggests I haven’t accepted it, even if I have.

Basically, I don’t have a point here to make, because I don’t have an answer. But if anyone has any advice, I’d love some. Even if it’s to tell me I’m vastly overthinking things.

Sweet Talk by Miz Pink

pinklips-sugaryHoneyed words can be powerful stuff you know. I certainly got a few guys in my younger years to do things or part with money they couldn’t afford to because I sweet talked them into it.

I’ve had my share of boyfriends over the years who I kept around lots longer than I should’ve just cuz they could sweet talk me back into their lives.

And with me and Sir Pink sometimes a lot of sweet talk can get either one of us out of dutch with the other in a hurry or get the other person to give up some goods they’ve been holding back on.

Mini Pink models 1 and 2 have sweet talked me into plenty of gifts and treats and out of punishments at times.

Yup. The right words can get you out of trouble as easy as they can get you into it.

But don’t try it on God or Jesus.

In the end we have to answer not just for whether we chose Christ but we have to be willing to answer for what we did. More important we are going to answer for our intent. Did we truly side with heaven and try to do the right thing or did we go to church and say all the pretty prayers and sing the pretty hymns and claim to be Jesus’s people?

We aren’t always gonna do the right thing. Some of us will rarely do the right thing.

But do you want to? Are you trying? Do you feel that you’ve let God and Jesus down when you don’t make the grade? Do you try to do better in the future? Those are the actions of a Christian.

When you cash out of this life, it’s too late to be trying to talk your way out of anything. Jesus said it nice and clear in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 7 and verses 21-23:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Two-fer Tuesday: Forgiveness by Deacon Blue

Forgiving is hard, but it is necessary. God requires it of us. He forgives us (as does Jesus) and so we are expected to do the same. But we often don’t. Must we forgive everyone all the time? And if we do, doesn’t that just let them off the hook for their bad behavior?

Possibly, but aren’t you pretty happy that God is letting you off the hook for your bad behavior thanks to Jesus’ atoning death at Calvary?

Let’s look at a couple passages of Bible scripture first.

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (Matthew chapter 18, verses 21-22)

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke chapter 6, verses 27-36)

I know that Miz Pink in her post today on forgiveness already talks about the debt we owe and the debts owed us when it comes to doing wrong and forgiving wrongs. I won’t re-tread her points. I’m going to talk about more practical issues. The kind of shit that all of us ask when we are called upon to forgive.

So, I can stop forgiving a person after he or she had wronged me 490 times?

Don’t be so freaking literal. Jesus is telling us that we must be willing to forgive over and over and over again. That should be clear when you look at what he says in Luke.

So, then, we have to forgive everyone no matter what?

Yes and no. We do need to forgive everyone in the sense that we cannot cling to resentment or hate. Even if a person kills my child, I must be willing to let it go. That doesn’t mean forgetting the wrong (that’s God’s job; besides, it’s way too hard for a mere mortal to do), but it does mean we cannot keep thinking about it. If we won’t let go, we not only refuse to give a gift that we are all too happy to receive from God but we also eat ourselves up inside. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you should give up an appropriate recompense or seek justice where appropriate. But you cannot be malicious about it and you have to be able to give it over to God ultimately instead of holding anger in your heart.

Another important thing is to focus on the word “brother” in the first passage I quoted above. We must forgive everyone, but the more intimate focus is on those of us to whom we are literally related and those to whom we are related through our born-again status: our brothers and sisters in Christ. To those people, we have an even higher duty to not only forgive but to be willing to embrace them.

So, I’ve got to let people just walk all over me?

Sometimes, but not really. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you have to keep putting yourself in a position to be hurt by that person. If a relative steals from you every time he or she stays at your place, then forgive him or her, but stop inviting that person over! Use some common sense. I’m not advocating that you just cut off everyone at the slightest slight, but do be willing to know when it’s a losing proposition. Also, Jesus may have told us to turn the other cheek, but he didn’t tell us to also turn our butt cheeks once both facial cheeks have been reddened and he didn’t tell us to offer up the cheeks of others. There are times when you may have to defend yourself or someone else, either verbally or physically. We are told in the Bible to “live in peace as much as is possible,” so clearly there are times when either running away or standing to fight is the immediate choice, with forgiveness something to deal with later.

Two-fer Tuesday: Forgiveness by Miz Pink

I am not gonna lie. Also even though I don’t usually swear around here (unlike that sailor Deacon Blue), I’m a’gonna tell you something straight up: This bitch can hold a grudge.

I’m a sweetie up to a point (and that’s a might far reaching point) and it’s pretty hard to get me over the edge of Mt. PissedOff but it can happen. And when it does I tend not to return your phone calls for weeks, months. Rarely do I hold a grudge longer than a year but it has happened. A woman whose personality was a bit too much like mine (not that I had noticed or would have admitted it then)committed the terrible sin of marrying Sir Pink’s brother (whom I was kinda protective of) and I tell ya, I didn’t like the way she bossed my bro-in-law around. Of course, I also didn’t notice that I did the same thing to Sir Pink at the time (probably still do). Took me two years (or was it three?) of giving the frosty shoulder to notice that the two of them were (shocker!) in love and doing just fine without my righteous indignation thank you very much. We two gals get along famously now.

That’s not cool tough. Holding a stupid grudge so long. It really ain’t. I need to learn to forgive more. And faster. And without expecting some grateful fanfare for doing it. Oh and to forgive without resentment. To forgive the same way I am supposed to give…and that is: g.r.a.t.e.f.u.l.l.y.

Remember the Lord’s Prayer…the one Jesus gave us himself?

Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed is your name. Your kingdom come and your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…and lead us not to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Some versions don’t say forgive us our debts but rather: Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

But you know what I like about the word debt here? It tells us we owe something. When we do wrong to others (or to God), we owe God. We owe him a sincere apology and it is up to us to go to him to ask for forgivness through his son Jesus and that sacred blood he shed for us. Wouldn’t hurt to go apologize to the person we wronged too by the way.

When people wrong us, they owe God, certainly, but they also owe us. But remember how much God and Jesus don’t like usury? If you don’t know, that’s the loaning of money at really evil terms. When someone wrongs us and we hold it against them over a long period, we are tacking interest onto their debt that we aren’t authorized by God to add on there. We’re being loan sharks in a spiritual/emotional way.

Not our right. Not our place. Not good. Not good at all.

It is hard to forgive. But we have to. That doesn’t mean we have to like the folks who have wronged us by the way…it just means we have to move beyond it and say at some point (quickly if at all possible) that it’s no longer for us to carry around but between that person and God.

(Deke’s post on forgiveness today is here)

Hell? Yes!

So, yesterday I started on the topic of Hell and whether or not people actually choose to be there and, for that matter, why the freakin’ hell we should even have Hell. Well, if you were around for that post, you might have noticed I spent a lot of time talking and didn’t get nearly far enough.

This time, I’ll try to get in some biblical passages to back my ass up a little instead of just providing links to past posts of my own that bear relevance on this topic, so this will probably be an even longer journey than yesterday. An important part of today’s post is found in WNG’s comment to me a couple days past, and in particular one thing she said:

I overheard a discussion this weekend about whether or not hell is actually empty. The two gentlemen discussing the matter weren’t close enough for me to eavesdrop completely but the gist that I got was that God’s love and forgiveness are all encompassing and offered forever, so basically you’d have to CHOOSE to go to hell. I thought hmmm…

Now, I’m sure most people would, upon really thinking about this shit, also say to themselves, if people choose to be in Hell rather than simply being sentenced there, who the hell would go to Hell? The truth of the matter is that it is sort of a combination of being sent to Hell and choosing to be there, in my humble and non-divine opinion.

First, a person chooses to not accept Jesus as their savior, and this choice basically put you on the elevator car going down. By not choosing God’s way, you put your soul into Satan’s hands. I know, that seems a bit harsh—eternal punishment because maybe you didn’t hear about Jesus or no one really told you about him in a way that was truly meaningful. Also, the whole eternal damnation thing itself seems a bit out of line with pretty much any offenses one could possibly commit in a single lifetime on this planet, even if your name was Adolf Hitler or something. Eternity is a damn long time.

And here we need some clarification. Hell isn’t eternal in and of itself. It actually gets thrown away into something the Book of Revelation refers to as the Lake of Fire (Revelation chapter 20, especially verse 10 and verses 14 & 15).

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. … Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Yesterday’s post provided a link to my post titled End of the Line? and you can look there to see my more complete argument on that front. But the short version is that I suspect that anyone in Hell (at the very least those who weren’t around there when Jesus descended into Hell for a few days and they heard preaching from his own mouth) still has a chance to repent before they stand before Jesus on Judgment Day.

I’ve seen arguments that Hell is where you suffer with images of your impending doom and the Lake of Fire is where every lost soul is utterly destroyed. But I don’t get the impression that the soul is something that can be utterly destroyed. Also, isn’t that pretty mean of a loving God to torture you with images of your destruction, then destroy you, having given you no hope of redemption? That kind of two-step punishment is cruelty entirely out of step with a God who would let His son be a sacrifice for our sakes instead of lifting Jesus off that cross that he never deserved to be on. If God wanted to destroy you, wouldn’t he just get straight to the ultimate penalty? So, I so see Hell as being a place where you are separated from God’s grace but only as a means to give you that final “Don’t you get it yet?” before you go to the place where you will never get out of, namely the Lake of Fire, in the hopes maybe you’ll have a saving epiphany.

Still, you might argue: Who would choose to stay in Hell and be discarded for eternity and an endless separation from God? True, I should think a short stay in Hell would be more than enough to make it clear that it’s not someplace you want to be (unless Satan is making it look good to fool people into thinking his way is still a good choice, which certainly is a possibility). But even if it’s a really horrific place to be, does that really mean that before you go before Jesus to be judged, you’re automatically going to accept him as your savior because you endured suffering and are facing the prospect of more of the same?

No.

Because it’s about accepting Jesus. It’s not about being afraid of punishment and saying “Please save me.” It’s about saying, “I’ve sinned against God and I am sorry and I want to be a child of God…please lift me up and guide me on that path.” If one doesn’t accept that they have wronged God and rejected God—and they don’t seek to be reunited with Him through Jesus—there will be no forgiveness. And that isn’t because God is cruel but because you won’t do your part. The parable of the prodigal son in the Gospel of Luke chapter 15, verses 11-32, is something worth mentioning here as an example of that, because the younger brother comes back not to demand anything or to justify his actions, but in humility. Yes, he doesn’t return until he hits rock-bottom, but that’s the way some people have to roll, just like many alcoholics don’t seek help until they truly crash and burn. The point is, the prodigal son doesn’t come back with excuses and doesn’t assume he’ll be welcomed back as a son (figuring he’ll only be worthy to act as a servant), and that is exactly why the father does take him back.

God can reach out to you, but He expects you to reach out too. And I think that is fair. I also believe that a lot of souls in Hell are not going to be willing to accept accountability. They will act out of fear and self-preservation and justifying their actions and making excuses (see, for example, the Gospel of Matthew chapter 7, verses 21-23):

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.

And the decision to defend their wrong decisions instead of atoning for them is a choice that will keep them in damnation. Too many people think their deeds will get them into Heaven instead of realizing that it’s their faith that will do that. And plenty of people in Hell will believe that they can still talk their way into Heaven by explaining why their works were good and why those works should be enough.

And the fact is, even if my musings in the Party that Never Ends? post that I linked to in my post yesterday are accurate, and Satan has put a nice facade on Hell to convince you to stay and party, I don’t think it’s like God is going to just let a lie like that go without a challenge. I think souls will be told, “Satan is lying to you and there is something better for you if you just admit that you’ve done wrong and listen to Jesus and accept his sacrifice for you.” But I also think that even if that is so, there are people who will cast their lot with Satan because they will gamble that things aren’t as bad as God says they will be and that maybe Satan really has a chance of winning. Because they want the petty things they have always clung to and won’t reach out to be lifted to something better.

There is also an interesting concept put forward in The Sandman: Master of Dreams mature comic series that ran from 1989 to 1996, and that is that everyone in Hell is there by their own choice and not by God’s design. The gist is that many people expect punishment and end up in Hell because that is what they secretly desire. Either because of their belief in a punishing God or their own internal sense of worthlessness, they simply cannot have a satisfying afterlife if they don’t suffer torment for their perceived sinfulness. I don’t think this is the way of things generally speaking, but it is an interesting concept and it might be that some people go to Hell for that reason as well.

Despite all I’ve said over the past couple days, it’s probably still going to appear cruel. After all, why should people who didn’t hear about Jesus have to go to Hell for that, for any period of time, instead of being judged on their personal merits?

I don’t know. That is, I don’t know why…and I don’t even know if that’s how it really happens. I just don’t know. My father-in-law, who is a reverend, has a theory that some people are born again and just don’t know it. In fact, he believes there are people who are born again and aren’t even Christian or even Jewish for that matter. And that may be the case. Perhaps there are people who have other faiths but know deep inside there is something wrong with them (sin and separation from God) but they don’t know exactly what. They simply realize deep down that they aren’t getting the answers from their own faith, and maybe people like this are considered to have accepted Jesus because they seek him without knowing who he is exactly or how and where to find him.

There’s also the possibility that Hell might not be a homogeneous place. Maybe those with seeking hearts but who haven’t received the gospel end up somewhere more contemplative than punishing, even though they might remain separated from God until the final judgment. Pure conjecture on that though, even more so than most of what I’ve presented so far. 

In the end, my point isn’t to try to convince you of a certain vision of Hell, only to show how it is possible that people might choose Hell, explicitly or implicitly.

And whether I’m right that it’s really our choice or whether I’m wrong and God is capricious (which just seems so unlikely to me), all I know is that it’s a hell of a choice.

And I pray that none of you reading this make that kind of decision.

…finally, if I may overuse the “hell” puns a bit more…it’s taken me a hell of a long time to get to the end of this topic. Apologies for any dry, achy eyes out there.

Oh. Hell?

Hell is pretty much the 400-pound gorilla in the middle of the room known as Christianity. It’s impossible to ignore and sometimes even more difficult to explain. On the one hand, we have a supposedly loving God the Father and a forgiving son of God—and yet, there is this place of eternal torment that both are willing to send folks if they don’t accept Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s dominion.

Yeah, I know, it seems pretty weird doesn’t it, when I put it like that? But I do believe that Hell exists and I do believe that there are people who end up there. Now, this post, for those of you who aren’t regular readers or didn’t read comments a couple days ago on one of my other posts, is something inspired by one of my readers, WNG. I had been intending to do a detailed and specific post about the nature and necessity of Hell anyway, but her comment got me off my ass finally, and here’s what she had said in my post Opinions are Like Assholes just for context:

I wanted to ask you a question – sorry it’s comepletely unrelated to this post…I overheard a discussion this weekend about whether or not hell is actually empty. The two gentlemen discussing the matter weren’t close enough for me to eavesdrop completely but the gist that I got was that God’s love and forgiveness are all encompassing and offered forever, so bascially you’d have to CHOOSE to go to hell. I thought hmmm… they were quoting scripture at each other rapid fire and I didn’t have a pen so I’m coming to you with???? What do you think? And where should I be looking in the Bible for answers? I think this is a really interesting question (especially since I’m been having some trouble forgiving lately). If you’re not interested no harm, no foul and sorry for taking over your blog!

Now, WNG hits on some of the major sticking points about Hell, which is why I wanted to repost her comment above. It might also be useful if you read the following posts by me about Hell (the last two of the three are really a two-part discussion and are even more speculative than the first of the three): End of the Line?, The Party that Never Ends?, and It’s a Trap! I really recommend that you at least read End of the Line because it impacts directly on some of what I will discuss about the permanence of Hell (or lack thereof).

Something that is pretty clear from all three posts above, though, is that there aren’t a lot of clear answers about precisely what Hell is or how it all works. But there are reasonable assumptions one can make based on human nature and God’s nature.

First, let’s get God’s love out of the way. God does love us. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have rules, though. And consequences for that matter. If you look back at the Garden of Eden (which I talked about here and a little bit here, too), what God wanted was children (us humans) who would choose to love him. The goal was to create a spiritual family, something God didn’t have in the angels, who were created to serve. Now, that free will to choose God or not, to love Him or not—well, it’s pretty meaningless if there is only one choice. If God is the only choice and obedience is the only option, free will is entirely a sham.

So, God had to provide a way to rebel; a way to reject him. When Lucifer rebelled and was ultimately cast down to Earth as Satan, that provided a being who could be a counterpoint to God. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil provided the initial means to disobey (other rules would follow as both means to show our obedience and as reminders to us of how the vast majority of us cannot motivate ourselves to obey anything God tells us to do). Sadly, Adam and Eve made the choice for all of us by being the first to disobey and to choose Satan’s way over God’s. Instead of being an ongoing option for humanity, Adam and Even polluted the whole situation from the get-go and made all of us, essentially, Satan’s pawns instead of God’s children.

This is why in the Old Testament the Hebrews refer to God as Lord and why in the New Testament, the shift is to call Him Father, with Jesus as our Lord and our heavenly sibling.

God loved us enough to put a plan in place whereby we could be washed clean of our sins, and that was the placing of people and events that would ultimately lead to the birth of Jesus and then his sacrificial death for us as a symbolic lamb in the same vein as the actual lambs that Jews had sacrificed to God before (Satan thought he had God beat in the Garden of Eden, but God wasn’t about to let us go without fighting for us). Essentially, we gain entrance to Heaven not by our deeds, because too often, our deeds are in conflict with God’s law, but rather through the good credit that Jesus possesses. The juxtaposition of prison/damnation/punishment with good credit/bad credit is odd, I know. It a mixed metaphor, really. But the fact is that Jesus co-signs for our eternal reward. His credit is that good. But God the Father isn’t going to let you cash in on His son’s credit unless you actually acknowledge that (a) there is a God in Heaven who is in charge and (b) you accept his son as Lord and Savior with a recognition of Jesus’ divine nature and an appreciation for the horrible sacrifices Jesus made for us out of love for us (suffering persecution; enduring crucifixion; taking on the spiritual pain of all sins committed in the past, present and future; being cut off from contact with God for a time; and going to Hell for three days to preach to the lost souls there even though Jesus had done nothing worthy of setting a single foot in Hell).

Whoa, I see this post is already getting long, and I’m beginning to think I’ll have to finish this tomorrow, as there is so much set-up before I can even get to the issue of how people choose Hell. So let me finish up a bit on love I guess, and then we’ll get to the rest of it tomorrow.

God is indeed love. It brings Him no pleasure whatsoever to see anyone go to Hell. But He isn’t going to give people a pass just because. Giving us free will means that there must be consequences as well. The fact is, I don’t think God keeps anyone in Hell. The damned have kept themselves there—or in many cases will keep themselves there when the chance comes to leave Hell. Because God is just, I believe that no one is going to stay in Hell without having been fully informed of what the deal is and how they can get out.

I know many preachers will say that there is no excuse for not hearing about and learning about Jesus in this day and age but I think that’s a cop-out for people who don’t want to really evangelize and want to feel better about not doing their part. If a person is raised a certain way, they typically aren’t going to be in a position to think of Jesus as anything other than a fanciful notion or a direct competition to the faith in which they were raised and continue to be devout. For God to hold that against a person and not give them a chance to truly know about Jesus and accept him seems indeed to be cruel and petty, and that’s not the kind of God I can envision if God really loves us.

Also, I know there are those in the predestination camp who argue that God has already picked out everyone who is going to Heaven and everyone who is going to Hell and I think that is bullshit because it flies in the face of us actually having free will to choose God’s way or not.

Love is at the center of what God does. But just like with any good parent, we as children often don’t recognize the love that lies behind the rules, the correction and even the punishment. And our failure to accept the love and to continue to cling to our own conceptions and our own desires is what ultimately dooms many of us to Hell.

More on that tomorrow in my post Hell? Yes!.

Hypocrisy hell, part 1

lady-justice.jpgOK, just for fun: When you find someone who says something like “I just can’t believe in any God that would sentence anyone to damnation for eternity. That’s not a loving being”…wait a few days, and then ask this:

“So, what do you think about the fact that any sins can be forgiven by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

You’ll be surprised how often the same person who was aghast at eternal damnation will say some variation of this:

“I couldn’t believe in a God who could let some baby-raping, murdering freak into Heaven just because he ‘accepts’ Jesus and seeks forgiveness. That isn’t fair to the victims.”

Amazing in the human mind how forgiveness, spiritual justice and the like are acceptable only when applied to those with whom we feel sympathetic or who are more or less like us.

This is why I’m glad God and Jesus are in charge of the judging of our souls, and not mortal folks.