Some people believe Hell is a place where “bad people get what they deserve.”
Some believe in order for heaven to be heaven, it would have to be free of “bad people” and therefore, all the bad people would have to be locked away in Hell.
Some believe there must be a system of punishment for bad deeds. They see Hell as an important part of God’s system of justice.
Some believe there is a literal “deadline” at the “dead line” where if someone has not gotten their act together, they will be headed to Hell. They do not believe in any more chances.
Some people’s fear of death is rooted in their fear of Hell. Many of us have recognized our sins and just can’t wrap our heads around Grace.
How could God possibly forgive that sin or the sins I keep doing over and over again? We worry about the sins we may have committed, but did not recognize as sin.
We worry we may get to the “dead line” before we get it all figured out, and we may end up in Hell.
In thinking about my concept of Hell, a new thought came to mind. Where exactly is Hell? What if Hell is here and now … on earth?
At the completion of our time on earth, what if God asked us, “How many people did you save from Hell?”
We might think of how many times we gave our testimony, how many Bibles we handed out or how many times we guided others to “accept Jesus.”
But what if He clarified His Question by saying, “How many did you save from Hell on earth?”
While we are handing out Bibles or doing “good works,” so we can stay out of a possible future Hell, how many people do we ignore who are in Hell on earth?
I thought of the rich man written about in The Bible. He ignored the beggar right outside the door. The beggar received his heavenly reward. The rich man experienced the Hell the beggar had on earth.
I thought of those who ignored the wounded man the Good Samaritan helped.
I thought of those who turned away while Jesus was being tortured and killed.
And then I saw myself in many parts of my life, turning away from the suffering of others.
I was willing to send a card, say a prayer, make a financial contribution, give a testimony … but spend some time in Hell with someone who was being consumed … no.
And yet the same Jesus Who lives in me went to Hell to set the captives free. And at various times in my life, He entered The Hell where I was suffering and He brought me out. I am so thankful.
May we all look around and see, hear and feel the suffering. And then may we ask Jesus, “Where are we going today, Lord? Let’s go set the captives free!”
The Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you!