I am nearly done with Brian McLaren’s, “The Last Word…,” and I have to say that it is grinding up my view of Hell.
What’s got my head spinning today is the idea that being judged and being saved by grace are not opposites. Being saved does not necessarily negate judgment and judgment is more like a telling of the truth. I’m not sure that to make of it all.
What I find more useful is Jesus’ use of Hell. Apparently Jesus takes the prevailing view of Hell utilized by the Pharisees and turns it back on them. Kind of a so-how-does-it-feel approach to the harsh methods the Pharisees used in how they treated people. Clearly they did not appreciate being on the receiving end of their use of Hell. So, they killed Jesus.
The Pharisees used Hell against the “sinners” and tried to scare people into being moral. Jesus used Hell against the Pharisees and tried to show them that being good was of equal or greater value than being moral.
Mere morality requires no real goodness, but true goodness is moral. It’s kind of like morality is a subset of goodness and not the other way around.
What I find most disturbing is that the view of Hell I have known my whole life is almost identical to the Pharisee’s view, not Jesus’ view. I’ve been on the wrong side of Hell my whole life. I wonder how much this idea has impacted how I have treated people. I fear looking into that because I think it will expose things about me that are embarrassing, humiliating, and regrettable.
On the other hand, maybe that is the judgment of God on me (telling the truth about me) and that if I do know that truth about me, then I will have the opportunity to change, be motivated differently, to love more.
Oh God, lead me into your goodness and strip away anything less than you desire.