Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To Hell With Hell

Don’t know if I’ve talked about hell before, and this is not going to be an explanation of what it is and it isn’t. This entry comes about though, as I am reliably informed that people seem to think that their existence here on earth is hell. I can sympathise to a degree with their plight. A lot of people around the world are living in varying degrees of hardship, persecution, torture, suffering and torment that few would be able to cope with. For all that though, I still think this is a cheap view of hell, even as we have a pretty cheap view of heaven as our mortal finite concepts and imaginations only give brief glimpses and hints as to what beauty awaits us should we be found in Christ on His return.

In any case, for all the misery that people are enduring to different extents in different contexts I get the impression that the role of a peacemaker (part of the deal of those who follow Christ) is to bridge the gap between the perception of their hellish existence and a path of seeing it from a godly perspective which doesn’t always alleviate the physical circumstances necessarily but allows the spirit of love, joy, peace and righteousness to inform the view of that circumstance. In this way it’s the chance to see the answer to the prayer of the heavenly kingdom seen on earth as we replace the person’s sense of hell with our best Spirit-driven efforts to announce and reveal heaven on earth. So to hell with the hell that people endure and let the righteousness, beauty and joy of the presence of Christ pervade the lives of those to whom we come in contact through our word and witness. That means it’s as much a glass of water, a listening ear and relief of pain as it is the proclamation of God’s love expressed in Christ’s sacrifice.

Now let me get this clear. My heart does break at hearing the kind of things people have to go through and the lack of love, respect and basic necessities people endure through, but it’s very true to me that while there’s life there is a glimmer of hope in that situation. That is why it’s not hell to me. Also when I note how some cultures and communities rise above their plight and are able to carry on and persevere through the trials – check those who went through slavery – then there’s no reason to accept the status quo. Real hell would be not even having that opportunity or glimmer to see things from God’s perspective. Real hell would be never having a chance to see that brighter future in Christ. Real hell would be eternity without God.

This though also runs into the issue about what heaven is like and the arguments that people put to me as to why it would be boring ig everything was perfect and how we need the evil to appreciate the good. I’ve never found these arguments to be particularly convincing. Sure if I never had a problem I wouldn’t know God could solve them, but that’s only because I wouldn’t need God to solve them and presumably our relationship would revert to how it was with Adam and God pre-Fall and what Jesus indicates in His time on earth. I so want to open up people to the fact that we were not meant to be this way, and this way is not going to stay with us forever. There’s got to be something in a perspective on perfection that helps us realise ourselves and just how hard the discrepancy is. I believe that is available in and only through Christ.

I also think this informs us as to the whole issue of living this life to see the kingdom come but also living in the light of the fact that this is not our resting place, this is not our abiding home, but there is one to come and we so want to see it and invite others to live today in the light of that eternity.

For His Name's Sake
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1 comment:

J. R. Miller said...

Hiey, my name is Joe. I came to your Site via your last post on Alan's blog.

Good thoughts here. I will be sure to bookmark and read along brother.