Thursday, August 21, 2014

"You're Going To Go To Hell!"

If you don't stop thinking like that, you're going to go to Hell. I'm sorry. It's just... well, you're wrong. You have to fall to your knees on the floor and beg God to change your mind, because if you don't, you will end up in eternal fire. Repent and be changed. Because as an afterthought, I wouldn't want you to end up burning in Hell, after all.

If I know people like I think I do, then many of them just became quite offended. And many of you also had your curiosity piqued as to why I'm making such a claim to my dear readers.

I'm not. So take a few minutes to calm down, slow your heartbeat, and get rid of the anger.

Calmed down now? Good. I'll get on with the actual point of this blog article now.

I'm sure there are a few of you who caught my sarcasm. But those of you who were offended and took it seriously, or can possibly put yourself in another's shoes - how did that make you feel?

I'm not going to tell you how you feel, but I'll list a few emotions that go through a person's mind when they're told out of the blue from someone they hardly know that they're going to go to Hell for whatever reason if they don't change:

  • Resentment.
  • Fear.
  • Anger.
  • Offensement.
  • Bitterness.
  • Annoyance.
  • Shock.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Disgust with either themselves or the person condemning them.
  • Confusion. 

I know that those are all valid and possible emotions, because they're the emotions I've felt - all of them - when people have told me I'm going to go to Hell for feeling a certain way or doing a certain thing, or that I will go to Hell if I commit suicide, or do whatever else.

I rarely felt repentance. I just got a bombardment of negative emotions, towards myself, towards whoever was talking to me, and towards God.

One reason is because that, as always, a person was condemning me without stepping into my shoes, and without showing love, gentleness, and respect. They were most likely in my face, matter-of-fact, blunt, and cold.

If a person is to judge another person, they should do it kindly, right?

Actually, no. A person should not judge at all. At least, not in the sense of what the word means now - the sense of that word now basically means acting superior, telling people point-blank they're going to go to Hell, belittling them because of their feelings/their beliefs/their life in general, and other such things like that.

Lovingly pointing out things that you believe are wrong, and expressing concern over a behaviour that is harmful, is what one should be doing. But I'll go into that in a second.

There are numerous Bible verses that speak out against judging others.

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
- Matthew 7:1-5 (NASB)

A favourite explanation people like to use is, "Well, it says if you do judge, you will be judged by the same standards."

Don't ask me how that's an explanation against its command not to judge, because I don't know. I don't understand the logic in that explanation.

But they neglect to pay attention to the next verses - the ones about the speck in your brother's eye, and the log in your own ('your' being in the metaphorical sense here).

Sawdust. Or... specks. Heh.

What I'm gathering from that passage - and I specifically said 'what I'm gathering', because I don't claim to know everything and certainly not what Bible passages mean - is that you shouldn't judge at all, because we all have our own problems that we should try to fix, instead of trying to fix everyone else.

Those verses to me are saying three things:

1. Don't judge others.
2. But if you do judge them, expect to be judged in the same way and by the same standards.
3. However, if you decide to judge others, you are a hypocrite for paying attention to their faults rather than your own.

Overall, I still get the 'do not judge others' vibe from this, regardless of the whole thing about the same standards. But let's take a look at another Bible verse on the subject:

"Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?"
- James 4:11-12 (NASB)

That one seems fairly clear to me - there is only one Lawgiver and Judge. And He is not any one of us. So who are we to judge others? 

One more verse before I move on:

"Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God."
- 1 Corinthians 4:5 (NASB)

That one is basically saying not to judge until the Lord returns. Again, fairly clear and there really isn't all that much more I can say on those verses. So I'll move on to talking about just how to point out what someone is doing wrong.

Should we just ignore people who are doing something to harm themselves or others, or doing something that we perceive is wrong? No. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do that.

First of all, let's just halt all notions of waltzing up to complete strangers or acquaintances and telling them that they're sinners, that what they think or beileve is wrong, etc. Even in a loving way. Seriously, just stop. 

Why? Because you haven't even shown them you care about them yet. You have no right to go around telling people you hardly know things like that, because... well, you hardly know them. You have no idea what they're going through, you have no idea what their past is like, you have no idea who they are.

If you're going to go around pointing out what you perceive someone is doing or believing that is wrong, you should only do it with someone you love and care about. And I mean genuinely, not pretending you do just to gain their trust.

Because, if it makes you feel any better about yourself, they'll be more likely to listen to you if you both have a good relationship before you start pointing out wrongdoings.

And also, it's just not generally considered kind or loving to go and point fingers at the beliefs and lives of people you don't know very well, for reasons I've already mentioned.

So how to go about it? Lovingly, gently, and kindly to someone you know well already. And make sure you're not acting like you know everything there is to know ever about the Bible, because let's face the cold, hard truth - you don't. And your denomination of Christianity isn't 'the only right' denomination. So make sure you explain to them why you think something is wrong; don't just tell them that it's wrong because you say so. And again, I cannot stress this enough: be respectful!

Seriously. You don't want to end up like these people. Cruel, hateful, disrespectful - the definition of 'unkind' incarnate, I tell you.

That's how you go about it. Consider this verse:

"Do to others as you would have them do to you."
- Luke 6:31 (NIV)

If you're going to tell someone that you think what they're doing is wrong, tell them in a way that you would want them to tell you. Which I would imagine means gently and respectfully. 

Now, if someone is doing something that you know is harmful to themselves, you should most certainly tell them it's wrong. But again, don't beat them over the head with a medical guide and go crazy shouting at them that they're hurting themselves and they have to stop. That won't get you anywhere.

Take it the same way as I suggested earlier. Kindly and gently, and informing them what is wrong with their behaviour and why it's harmful; drinking, smoking, etc. 

(Now if you know someone murdering other people or abusing other people physically, thaaat is a whole other kettle of fish that I'm not going into. Obviously, the whole gentle-and-loving approach will most likely not work out with that.)

I think that's all I have to say. I'll leave you with this passage:

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

"It keeps no record of wrongs". That's one part of that passage that is key to this article. But the entire thing is relevant - treat others with that sort of love, no matter what. Because that's what one is meant to do - not harshly judging others for differences of opinions.

That's two hearts and a cross in the middle, in case it's hard for anyone to see.

God bless,
Theodora Ashcraft


  1. BAM, girl! Honestly, you been reading my mind lately? I have a blog post half an encyclopedia long going through the rough draft stages right now that doesn't say this better than this does! Well done, honey. Agreed entirely one-hundredly percent. Do you mind if I link to this post in my blog post when it finally goes up? I think you said it better than I. :D

    1. No, I haven't. ;) And awww... thanks. :) Sure, you can link to this post, though I'm sure yours will end up better!