Condemned to hell, that doesn’t sound fun, does it? Would you like to know why I, a seemingly good little Christian gal, am going to burn in eternal hellfire? I sure would…
Well, perhaps it’s because, as a woman, I pray with my head uncovered?
Or perhaps it’s because, as a woman, I teach and preach?
Or perhaps it’s because I have Not Born Children?
Or perhaps it’s because I wear mixed fabrics?
Or perhaps it’s because I am a woman who is divorced and remarried?
Ah, yes, among ALL the other reasons I could burn in eternal hell fire, THIS last one is the reason I will. Because I am divorced and remarried (to another man), I am an adulterous woman and for that there is, quite obviously, no forgiveness.
It’s because Jesus dying on the Cross covered Every “Sin” but that one. That sin is unforgivable and too bad, so sad, I guess that means I’m gonna burn forever.
Does that sound preposterous to you? If it does not, I think you may have some misconceptions about the character of God.
I was shocked, the other day, to the point of a pounding heart, burning head and teary eyes, that there are people in an organized religious group that believe that I’m flat out going to hell because I am divorced and remarried.
They label me as an adulterous woman. Do they know me? Nope. Do they know my history? Nope. Do they care to find out? Apparently Nope.
They would rather label me, a devoted follower and Spirit filled lover of Jesus, as an adulterer and condemn me to hell. I’m not certain they’d even engage to try to “save me” and that might be the most disturbing part of this belief system.
Does that feel unfair and gross to you? It most certainly does to me. To think that someone would use the bible to bring condemnation instead of grace is preposterous (or is it?). That someone who doesn’t know me, or my story, or my walk with Jesus, would label me and condemn me to hell is 100% absolutely ridiculous to me.
First of all, who made them the judge over my life? No one.
Second of all, (if I saw my situation as sin) who could cast the first stone, being without sin? No one.
Thirdly, who would call my leaving an abusive marriage and then years later marrying a wonderful man (now married for 18 years) SIN? No one.
Well, evidently that last thought is incorrect. There are people, gobs of them that do label my life as sin. Not just that, but it’s seems that it is somehow a sin that is unforgivable. Right, gotcha, I see how that totally makes sense when you read the Bible.
Jesus paid for all the sins of everyone, except, of course, the sins that some people have decided are unforgivable and therefore bring condemnation. Well, yes, again that makes total sense. That makes me want to run into a church that preaches this and throw myself into their “loving” arms.
Ha! Not in the least. Rather, it makes me want to rush into the leadership building for such an organization and start tipping over tables. Kinda like Jesus did at the Temple, at least I’d be in good company on that front. 😉
I don’t necessarily know where I am going with this blog post, I am just kinda walking out these thoughts out loud. But, I guess, since I am walking this thought out, I’d ask each of you reading this to consider your personal judgment of others.
Are you unknowingly condemning people for their “sinful behavior” (as you deem it as such)?
Are you unknowingly lessening the worth of others because you see their choices as sinful beyond hope?
Last question, if you are judging people, have you met Jesus or read anything about His life on earth?
If you have truly met Jesus and studied His life, you’d know He Loved the “unlovable”. He Loved the “sinners”. He Loved the “adulterous”. He loved the “unclean” & “sick” & “thieves”. He Loved, Period.
If we claim to follow Jesus, yet we condemn and don’t love everyone, yes, EVERYONE, we are deceived.
I want to walk like Jesus and love every single human on this planet, period. This means that I will LOVE the folks that judge me, yes, even the ones that are convinced I am going to hell because I am divorced and remarried.
Loving them doesn’t require that I agree with them (that’s a novel thought, hey?) but it does require that I treat them with love and honor. Love also doesn’t mean being a door mat, but it means leading with honor and maybe even raising a question to be discussed, at an appropriate time, to see if we can openly discuss our differing thoughts regarding my eternal destination.
At this time in my life, I am growing and learning about past judgments I have held against groups of people and individuals. As I learn to read the bible in context, in consideration of its time, place and audience, I am unlearning much of what I was taught as absolute truth while growing up in a very strict and legalistic church. Its an incredibly painful (and repentance filled) walk, but I wouldn’t change it for anything because it is releasing love, pure unadulterated love through me and that is worth any amount of pain.
So, I ask you:
Is there a people group or even just one single person whom you are excluding from the love of God and the Gift of Grace provided by Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross? If so, I hope you feel a “poke” in your spirit and it leads you to a place of investigation about that judgment, then to repentance and finally to love.
I hope you and I can walk in love the way Jesus loves, fully & unconditionally without judgment, period.
It’s a Good Friday, indeed, if this has lit a fire in your heart to lead with Love.
May God’s Loving and Unfathomable, Unconditional Grace fill your heart, mind and spirit to overflowing. May you love the “unlovable” and in doing so, may you grow to know more deeply and completely the Love of God.